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Beam bought by Japan's Suntory for £9.7 billion

Published:  13 January, 2014

Japan's Suntory is to become the world's third largest spirits company with its £9.7 billion ($16 billion) purchase of US firm Beam Inc.

The deal, which has already been approved by both companies' boards, will go through in the second half of 2014, subject to shareholder approval.

It represents the biggest drinks industry deal since 2008, when Pernod acquired the Swedish firm and owner of Absolut vodka Vin & Sprit for $5.6 billion.

Beam's portfolio includes famous US whiskey Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, as well as Scotch brands Teachers and Laphroaig. Suntory is renowned for its Japanese whiskies Yamzaki and Hakushu, as well as Bowmore Scotch. The transaction will create a spirits company with annual net sales exceeding $4.3 billion.

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

Beam's chief executive Matt Shattock and the current management team will continue to lead the business from its US headquarters just outside Chicago, Illinois.