Eyebrows rose earlier this week at the US$16bn that Suntory is set to pay for Beam Inc. At 20 times the company's EBITDA, the transaction is at the more expensive end of the scale. Here, courtesy of analysts at Nomura, we list the multiples of spirits purchases this Century.

Year Acquiror Target EV/ EBITDA
2001 Diageo/Pernod Ricard Seagram 15x
2004 Bacardi Grey Goose 26x
2004 LVMH Glenmorangie 21x
2005 Pernod Ricard/Fortune Brands Allied Domecq 10x
2006 Brown-Forman Chambord  
2006 Brown-Forman Case Herradura 22x
2008 Pernod Ricard Vin & Spirit 21x
2009 Davide Campari Wild Turkey 12x
2010 William Grant & Sons C&C Spirits & Liqueur business 20x*
2010 Davide Campari C&C Spirits & Liqueur business  7.5x*
2011 Diageo Mey Icki 9.9x
2012 Diageo Ypioca 17x
2012 Remy Cointreau Bruichladdich 24x
2012 Beam Inc Pinnacle Vodka 17x
2012 Davide Campari Lascelles de Mercado 15x
2013 Suntory Beam Inc 20x

* Normalised valuation est 15x

“As a general rule,” writes Nomura analyst Ian Shackleton, “single-brand multiples can be higher, especially for premium brands (eg, 24x EBITDA paid for Bruichladdich by Remy Cointreau). Local spirits multiples tend to be lower (10x for Mey Icki paid by Diageo, although the multiple for Ypioca in Brazil was higher at 17x). Portfolio acquisitions appear to have lower multiples (although some time ago, 10x paid for Allied Domecq in 2005).

“The multiple paid for Beam (c20x EBITDA) looks expensive in this context.”