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Japan’s Suntory Holdings Limited has agreed to purchase Beam, Inc., the Chicago-headquartered producers of whiskey and other distilled beverages in a $16 billion deal that would make it the world’s third-largest producer of distilled drinks.

A family-owned company based out of Osaka, Japan, Suntory was established in 1898. The deal, which still needs to be ratified has Suntory providing $13.6 billion in cash and the assumption of Beam Inc. debt.

Suntory and Beam do have a previous relationship, as each distributes the other’s brands in  various markets.

Each company has well-known and well-established brands, and there is no plan to alter any of them. Beam brands include the Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon and Courvoisier cognac. Suntory is best-known for the Japanese whisky brands Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Midori liqueur and Bowmore Scotch whisky.


This Suntory purchase comes on the heels of a September 2013 purchase of the Ribena and Lucozade brands from GlaxoSmithKline of the UK in a US$2.2 billion deal.


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