Japan's Suntory to buy Jim Beam maker for $20 billion

Casks of Suntory Holdings whisky are seen at its Yamazaki Distillery in Shimamoto town, Osaka, on Dec 15, 2013. Japan's Suntory Holdings will buy the US maker of Jim Beam bourbon for US$16 billion (S$20 billion) in a transaction that includes debt, c
Casks of Suntory Holdings whisky are seen at its Yamazaki Distillery in Shimamoto town, Osaka, on Dec 15, 2013. Japan's Suntory Holdings will buy the US maker of Jim Beam bourbon for US$16 billion (S$20 billion) in a transaction that includes debt, creating the spirit sector's third-largest player, a joint statement said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Japan's Suntory Holdings will buy the US maker of Jim Beam bourbon for US$16 billion (S$20 billion) in a transaction that includes debt, creating the spirit sector's third-largest player, a joint statement said on Monday.

Suntory is offering US$83.50 per share for Beam Inc., a liquor group which makes Jim Beam, Sauza, Courvoisier and Teacher's, according to the statement.

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

"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 US$4.3 billion.

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

The transaction represents a 25-per cent premium to Beam's closing price of US$66.97 on Jan 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.

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