CLERMONT - The operator of Bullitt County’s oldest manufacturing facility may soon have a new owner.
On Monday, it was announced that Suntory Holdings Limited and Beam Inc. had reached a agreement in which the Japanese-based company will acquire the international spirits company for $16 billion.
The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2014.
The Jim Beam distillery in Clermont began operation in 1933 at the close of Prohibition by the James B. Beam family.
Over the years, Beam has become an international maker of spirits with sales of over $4.3 billion a year.
Its buyer is the leading producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in Japan with sales of over $17.6 billion in 2012.
While the transaction is a buzz across the business world, for Bullitt Countians there is the question of what this means to the community and the approximately 400 employees.
“It’s business as usual at Beam and we anticipate all operations will continue as they are,” said Paula Erickson, vice president of communications and PR for Beam, which is based near Chicago.
In response to questions from The Pioneer News, Erickson said that little change is anticipated.
“Suntory has indicated that it wants us to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Erickson. “Our portfolios and organizations are complementary. Among the things that have attracted Suntory to Beam are our people, our culture and how we achieve success. We’re incredibly proud of that.”
With the purchase, Erickson said Suntory is providing a tremendous opportunity for Kentucky-made products that will continue to be made the same way, by the same people, as always.
“I am delighted that we can announce this agreement with Beam, a company with a portfolio of leading global brands, including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, and a strong global distribution network,” said Nobutada Saji, president and chairman of Suntory. “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. We are particularly excited about the prospect of working more closely with Beam’s excellent management and employees who will play an integral part in the growth of the business.”
The two global giants are already business partners in Japan and Asian. In Japan, Suntory distributes Beam products. In Singapore and other Asian markets, Beam distributes Suntory products.
“This is a very exciting development that delivers substantial value for our stockholders and creates an even stronger global company with an excellent platform for future growth,” said Matt Shattock, president and CEO of Beam Inc. “Together we will be a global leader in distilled spirits with the number three position in premium spirits and a dynamic portfolio across key categories. With particular strength in bourbon, Scotch, Canadian, Irish and Japanese whisky, the combined company will have unparalleled expertise and portfolio breadth in premium whisky, which is driving the fastest growth in Western spirits.”
The Beam stock would be purchased at a cost of $83.50 per share, up from $66.97 on Jan. 10.
The agreement must be approved by the individual boards of directors.
Under the agreement, the Beam operations would continue to be managed from Chicago.
Founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1899, the group is the country’s leading player in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It created Japan’s first whisky in 1923. Over time, it has acquired more companies, most notably the Orangina Schweppes company.
While its mainstay is whisky, beer and soft drinks, the company is also involved with fitness clubs, Subway restaurants, fresh flowers and golf ranges.
About Beam Inc.
The company has a wide range of alcoholic beverages that it produces and markets around the world. The signature products are Jim Beam bourbon and Maker’s Mark bourbon. But the diverse company also has various brands of vodka, tequila and rum.