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USA: Brown-Forman to continue acquisition search despite end to KJ sale

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Brown-Forman, the US wine and spirits producer that was believed to be one of the companies involved in the ill-fated Kendal-Jackson bidding, said yesterday that it would continue to look at acquisitions.

David Dearie, managing director of Brown-Forman Wines International, told just-drinks.com that, "as a company we [Brown-Forman] want to be at the forefront with an eye on consolidation and brand growth internally. Do we need to acquire or invest in current brands, I think you will see a bit of both."

He said that although the company had ties in Italy, with the Bola range, and Australia, the main focus of the company's search for acquisition targets would be California.

Dearie said that Brown-Forman's "capacity to get capital was good" and that the wine division would be after premium brands that they could grow and "go global" with.

Questioned about whether there were enough good companies on the market now Kendall-Jackson had aborted any sale Dearie said: "There are enough brands that you can go and acquire. There aren't a lot of true brands in the wine industry and there is a lot of classic marketing still to do to create brands. There are plenty of small products that would fit well."

He also said that although the company was fiercely independent, it would not rule out anything including mergers and joint ventures with other large drinks companies. Brown-Forman has been linked with Bacardi in the past.


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