Beam Inc is set to be acquired by Suntory Holdings

Beam Inc is set to be acquired by Suntory Holdings

Japan's Suntory Holdings has agreed to acquire US-based spirits firm Beam Inc for US$16bn. 

The deal, which will create the world's third biggest premium spirits player, is expected to close by the second quarter of this year pending regulatory and Beam stockholder approval, the companies announced today (13 January). Beam's management team will remain in place and the company stay headquartered in Chicago.

Matt Shattock, Beam's president & CEO said: “Our combined global routes to market will expand our joint distribution footprint, and the powerful innovation capabilities both companies have developed will be a significant advantage.”

Beam owns the Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek Bourbon brands as well as Teacher’s and Laphroaig Scotch whiskies, Courvoisier Cognac and Sauza Tequila. Suntory's spirits business includes Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin alongside Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.

Nobutada Saji, president & chairman of Suntory’s Board, said: "We are particularly excited about the prospect of working more closely with Beam’s excellent management and employees who will play an integral part in the growth of the business.”

The two companies already operate a partnership through which Suntory distributes Beam products in Japan and Beam distributes Suntory products in Singapore and other Asian markets.

Suntory today said it will pay for the transaction, which about equals 20 times Beam’s current annual EBITDA, with cash at hand and financing from its bank.

Suntory Holdings' soft drinks unit last year completed its GBP1.35bn (US$2.1bn) purchase of GlaxoSmithKline brands Ribena and Lucozade using money raised in an IPO. The share launch was Japan's biggest of 2013 and raised about US$4bn for Suntory Food & Beverage.

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