Suntory's acquisition of Beam Inc and Emperador's takeover of White & Mackay signal a “growing appetite” in Asia for assets that could push up prices in future bidding contests, an analyst has said. 

Japan's Suntory paid US$16bn for Beam this year while Philippines's Emperador has agreed to a $730m price tag for the Diageo-controlled Scotch whisky unit. The deals highlight a widening of the traditional group of competitors involved in major alcohol acquisitions, with implications for all, according to Rabobank analyst Stephen Rannekleiv.

“For those looking to sell spirits brands, this opens up important opportunities that could drive improved pricing for assets,” Rannekleiv said in the Rabobank Spirits Quarterly report for Q2 2014. “For those looking to make acquisitions, it is clear that the bidding process is becoming more competitive and aggressive.”

Rannekleiv said that the two Asian companies made their acquisitions for different reasons, with Suntory looking for a bigger share of the growing US spirits market and Emperador wanting to fuel its continued growth. However, he added: “Taken together, these two deals suggest an important development for the industry. Interest in acquiring Western spirits assets is growing quickly.”