Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beam Maybe Not In Play After All.

As I have written about here before, and also in the current (No. 97) issue of WHISKY Magazine, Fortune Brands will shortly become Beam Inc., a pure-play spirits company as opposed to a diversified conglomerate.

Ever since this plan was announced, industry observers have speculated that some rival will almost immediately acquire Beam Inc. and take it apart. The folks at Beam haven't commented but one can assume that is not what they have in mind. I have always said that such an outcome is not as likely as many people think.

Just-Drinks speculates that the price would be about $9 billion. Now Just-Drinks is also reporting that the two most likely suspects, Diageo and Pernod, both say they are not interested, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Diageo is devoting its resources to developing markets, such as China; while Pernod is still trying to reduce the debt it took on to buy Absolut three years ago.

Many factors bear on whether or not any public company will become a takeover target. A big one will be how Beam Inc. stock trades when it is finally on the Big Board without golf balls and faucets holding it back.

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