Beam Global Spirits & Wine to be demerged in Q4, says Fortune Brands

Beam Global Spirits & Wine to be demerged in Q4, says Fortune Brands

Fortune Brands' plans to make Beam Global Spirits & Wine a standalone spirits company by the end of 2011 took another step forward after the group said it has agreed to sell its golf business.

Fortune said at the end of last week that it has agreed to sell its Acushnet Company golf business to a consortium of Fila Korea and South Korea-based Mirae Asset Private Equity for US$1.225bn in cash. Fortune said that it expects $1.1bn in after-tax proceeds from the deal.

"This transaction is a very important milestone as we execute our proposed plan to separate our three strong businesses," said Fortune's CEO and chairman, Bruce Carbonari.

"The proceeds from this sale will strengthen Fortune Brands’ balance sheet and support strong capital structures for both Beam and Fortune Brands Home & Security," he said.

Fortune hopes to spin-off its Home & Security business within the next few months, leaving Beam Global Spirits & Wine as a standalone spirits company. "The company is targeting to complete the business separation early in the fourth quarter," said Fortune.

Several analysts have predicted that Beam Global will attract takeover offers, with Diageo and Bacardi  mooted as possible frontrunners. However, Beam's broad portfolio, including Jim Beam and Maker's Mark Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Courvoisier Cognac and Teacher's Scotch whisky, means that competition concerns are likely to prevent a single multinational from acquiring the entire unit.
The standalone Beam Inc, as the group will be renamed, is set to be the world's fourth largest premium spirits company by net sales.

To read just-drinks' exclusive interview with Beam Global's CEO, Matt Shattock, click here.