In the first major liquor industry deal of the year, Suntory Holdings has made a $US13.6 billion takeover for Beam, maker of Jim Beam bourbon.
Suntory, owner of Frucor Beverages in New Zealand, is offering $US83.50 a share, a 25% premium to the closing price on Friday.
Chicago-based Beam was listed as a pure liquor play after being spun off from Fortune Brands in 2011 while Suntory itself was listed only last year in Tokyo.
The two companies already have links, with Suntory distributing Beam products in Japan and Beam doing likewise for Suntory in Singapore and other Asian markets.
Suntory’s alcohol business includes Midori liqueur. Earlier this month it bought GlaxoSmithKline’s Lucozade and Ribena brands.
Japanese liquor companies have been highly acquisitive on a global scale in recent years, with Asahi owning Independent Liquor in New Zealand and Kirin owning Lion.
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