Japanese Firm Buys Jim Beam for $13.6B

$13.6B deal set to be 3rd-biggest in industry history
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 11:00 AM CST
Japanese Firm Buys Jim Beam for $13.6B
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, photo, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bottles line the counter at the Jim Beam visitors’ center at Clermont, Ky.   (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek bourbons will soon have a second home in Japan. Beam, the owner of the whiskeys and the world’s fourth-biggest liquor company by sales, has reached a deal to be purchased by Osaka’s Suntory, a family-owned liquor company that’s No. 15 worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $13.6 billion cash deal is poised to be the third biggest the liquor industry has ever seen, as well as the third-biggest overseas buy by a Japanese firm.

The sale comes as bourbon undergoes a renaissance, the Journal notes: For the first time in almost four decades, US production surpassed 1 million barrels in 2012—thanks in part, perhaps, to Mad Men. Beam is the second-biggest whiskey maker in the US, after Brown-Forman Corp., maker of Jack Daniel’s. Until late 2011, it was a part of Fortune Brands, which also owns Master locks and Moen faucets. The company’s management will continue from Chicago, says Suntory, whose controlling family is Japan’s second-richest, with a net worth of $10.7 billion, Forbes reports. (Read more Jim Beam stories.)

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