Suntory Holdings Ltd. is considering a takeover of the U.S. producer of Jim Beam bourbon whiskey to further expand overseas while the Japanese market continues to shrink, sources said Dec. 11.
Suntory, Japan's largest whiskey maker, is waiting for the right time to approach Beam Inc. because of the large costs needed for such an acquisition, the sources said. Suntory might also team up with a different company for the buyout.
Beam’s market capitalization was valued at about $9.5 billion (782 billion yen) as of Dec. 10, and its share price has been rising.
Beam, established in 1795, is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, and is also known for its Maker’s Mark corn-based bourbon whiskey. The company reported about 230 billion yen in sales in 2011.
Suntory in September announced that its contract with U.S. distiller Brown-Forman Corp. will end this year, and that it has concluded a deal to sell 26 Beam products under 10 brands in Japan starting in January.
The Japanese company has sold Jack Daniel’s and Early Times as a sales agent for Brown-Forman for more than 40 years.
Suntory has already been pushing sales of its soft drinks and beers in the global market as the declining birthrate and the aging society are expected to hurt sales in the domestic market.
Suntory took over French beverage maker Orangina Schweppes Group in 2009 for more than 300 billion yen as part of its push overseas.
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