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Suntory Snaps Up Jim Beam for $16 Billion

Suntory Snaps Up Jim Beam for $16 Billion
Image credit: movieclips

For Jim Beam, it's Suntory time. The privately owned Japanese drinks company announced today its intent to purchase the maker of Maker's Mark, Laphroaig Scotch whisky and Courvoisier for $13.6 billion.

Suntory will buy out all existing shares of Jim Beam stock at $83.50 a share, a 25 percent premium on its Jan. 10 closing price. At 11:11 a.m. EST on Jan. 13, Jim Beam's stock was up $16.20 on the news, a gain of more than 24 percent.

The Japanese food and beverage conglomerate will also assume Jim Beam's outstanding debt, bringing the total value of the deal to $16 billion.

Known to most Americans as the company pitched by Bill Murray in the 2003 film Lost in Translation, and to the discerning few as the company behind Japanese single-malt whiskies Yamazaki and Hibiki, Suntory was founded in 1899 in Osaka and created Japan's first native whisky a quarter-century later.

"I believe this combination will create a spirits business with a product portfolio unmatched throughout the world and allow us to achieve further global growth," Nobutada Saji, president and chairman of Suntory's board of directors, said in a statement.

Both Beam's and Suntory's boards approved the deal unanimously. Suntory expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2014, and says it will create "a stronger global player in premium spirits" with more than $4.3 billion in annual combined sales of spirits.

Matt Shattock, Beam's president and chief executive, will continue to run the U.S spirits maker along with his existing management team.

Related: Report: U.S. Business Mergers at Highest Level Since 2001

Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.

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