Monday, January 13, 2014

Whiskey Merger Monday: Suntory and Beam Ink $13.6 Billion Deal

It's merger Monday with a kick. Japanese drinks maker Suntory agreed to purchase Beam, the maker of Jim Beam and other alcoholic beverages, for $13.6 billion - the biggest of 2014.

The combined company will control a host of whiskey bands: Beam's Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Knob Creek bourbons, and Suntory's Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki, and Kakubin. The companies had a pre-existing relationship as distribution partners. Suntory had distributed Beam products in Japan, and Beam distributed Suntory's products in Singapore and around Asia.

Big winners from the Coupon:

Beam: The company's shares are up 24% Monday morning, trading just below the 25% premium to the beverage maker's closing price Friday offered by Suntory. The Japanese beverage maker agreed to pay an outsize multiple of more than 20X the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

Beam's management will stay in place and operate the company as a subsidiary of Suntory from Beam's headquarters outside of Chicago. Beam was s pun out of Fortune Brands in 2011. Since then, it's been considered a key takeover candidate.

Bill Ackman: Pershing Square pushed for the breakup of Fortune Brands. According to FactSet, Mr. Ackman's hedge fund owns the largest stake in Beam at roughly 13%.

Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Centerview Partners: Mitsubishi and Morgan Stanley advised Suntory, while Credit Suisse and Centerview worked for Beam on this deal. This is sure to give all of these banks a boost in the league tables.

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