Suntory to acquire Beam for $16bn

Deal will give Japanese group brands such as Jim Beam and Ireland's own Kilbeggan whiskey

Suntory Holdings, the closely held Japanese whiskey and beer maker, said it will buy Beam for $16 billion (€11.7bn) to gain brands such as Maker's Mark whiskey and create the world's third-largest premium spirits company.

Shareholders in the Deerfield, Illinois-based maker of Jim Beam and Canadian Club liquor will receive $83.50 in cash per share, the Tokyo-based company said today in a statement. That compares with Beam's last closing price of $66.97. The purchase will help Suntory boost overseas growth to offset a shrinking home population.

“Strategically, it makes sense for

Suntory,” said Trevor Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London. “I’m a little surprised they decided to go it alone, but at the moment you have a strong yen and low interest rates.”


In December 2012 Suntory had considered making an offer for Beam alongside Diageo, the world's biggest distiller. The acquisition has "very little cost synergies," Stirling said, but allows Suntory greater exposure to the US, the world's most profitable spirits market, and to expand Beam's brands in faster-growing Asian markets.

The $16 billion purchase price includes assumption of Beam’s outstanding net debt, according to the statement.

Beam has made a number of Irish acquisitions in recent years, including the €73 million takeover of John Teeling's Cooley Distillery and 2 Gingers, the whiskey brand founded by Mayo man Kieran Folliard.

(Additional reporting Bloomberg)