Updated: 01/13/2014 21:57 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan's Suntory to buy Jim Beam maker for $16 bn

Japan's Suntory Holdings will buy the US maker of Jim Beam bourbon for $16 billion in a transaction that includes debt, creating the spirit sector's third-largest player, a joint statement said Monday.


Japan's Suntory to buy Jim Beam maker for $16 bn

Actor Mark Wahlberg holds a bottle of Jim Beam Black during the Hornitos Challenge in Tampa, Florida on April 16, 2009

Suntory is offering $83.50 per share for rival Beam Inc., a liquor group whose brands also include Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila, Courvoisier cognac and Teacher's whiskey, according to the statement.

Suntory is known for leading Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin, as well as Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.

The deal, approved by the board of directors of each company, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014 pending regulatory approval.

"Together we will be a global leader in distilled spirits with the number three position in premium spirits and a dynamic portfolio across key categories," said Beam Inc.'s president and chief executive Matt Shattock.

According to the statement, the deal will "create a stronger global player in premium spirits" that anticipates annual net sales of spirits products exceeding $4.3 billion.

"On completion of the transaction, Suntory and Beam aim to achieve growth in markets worldwide, including the United States," the two companies said.

The definitive agreement, subject to Beam stockholder's approval, includes the assumption of Beam's outstanding net debt.

The transaction represents a 25 percent premium to Beam's closing price of $66.97 on January 10.

Nobutada Saji, president and chairman of Suntory's board, said he believes "this combination will create a spirits business with a product portfolio unmatched throughout the world and allow us to achieve further global growth."

Suntory was founded in Osaka in 1899. Beam Inc. is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, just outside Chicago.

The current Beam management team will continue to head the business. 

Under a previously established cooperation, Suntory distributes Beam products in Japan while Beam distributes Suntory products in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia. 

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