Suntory buys Jim Beam firm in $16bn deal

Jim Beam and Hibiki bottles Image copyright AFP
Image caption US whiskey maker Beam and Japan's Suntory spirits unit generated more than $4bn in total sales in 2013

Japan's Suntory Holdings has completed a $16bn (£9.5bn) buyout of the US firm that makes Jim Beam whiskey.

The deal also sees the renaming of the company, to be called Beam Suntory.

The corporate marriage creates the world's third-largest high-end spirits maker. The combined total sales of Beam and Suntory's spirits business amounted to $4.6bn last year.

Beam Suntory wants to integrate the spirits business of Japan's Suntory Liquors before the end of this year.

Suntory is best-known for the Japanese whisky brands Yamazaki and Hibiki, as well as Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.

In addition to the widely recognised Jim Beam bourbon, Beam's other brands include Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila and Courvoisier cognac.

'Cultural fit'

Beam Suntory will have its headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois and the company will be led by Matt Shattock, who has been the chief executive at Beam since 2009.

Mr Shattock said: "We will be focused on continuing our momentum, growing in developed and emerging markets and building on our combined strengths.

"I'm particularly excited about what brings us together - a strong cultural fit based on the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of two companies with common values and proud heritages rooted in multi-generational family businesses."

The Beam brand is more than 200 years old and its flagship whiskey, Jim Beam, is now overseen by a seventh-generation Beam distiller.

The history of Suntory dates back to 1899, when founder Shinjiro Torii started producing sweet wines. He then moved on to create the world's first Japanese whisky and today Suntory is the leading whisky distiller in Japan.

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