NYTimes – Suntory, a privately held giant known for producing Japan’s first whiskey, has agreed to acquire the maker of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons and Teacher’s and Laphroaig Scotch whiskies, for $13.6 billion. Suntory, based in Osaka, is offering Beam shareholders $83.50 a share in cash, 25 percent above Beam’s closing stock price on Friday. It represents a multiple of more than 20 times Beam’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. Including the assumption of debt, the deal, which was announced on Monday, is valued at $16 billion.
Now [Suntory] is adding Beam, one of the United States’ most recognizable purveyors of bourbon and other spirits. The company was once known as Fortune Brands, a conglomerate that included disparate businesses like home and hardware products and golf balls. In late 2010, it announced that it would pursue a three-way split, becoming a liquor company. Besides its namesake bourbon, the company also sells Canadian Club whisky and Courvoisier cognac. Under the deal announced on Monday, the current chief executive of Beam, Matthew J. Shattock, and his management team would continue to lead the business.
Shocked. Stunned. Enraged. I don’t take many things seriously. But bourbon is on my short list of shit you don’t fuck with. Yes, I understand that Jim Beam is publicly traded and it’s up for grabs by anybody. But America can’t let signature bourbons go. Bourbon is right up there with apple pie, muscle cars, and the 4th of July for shit that makes this country awesome.
I refuse to give my money to the Japanese unless it’s for electronics. Those I justify by telling myself that they are the only ones who can build them because they have tiny tiny Asiatic hands. Big American hands couldn’t possibly build a smartphone. They’re for tuning engines and throwing footballs and feeling boobs. This is gonna flip my whole drinking game on its head. Between Anheuser Busch being owned by the Belgians and Jim Beam going the way of the bukkake fanatics, I don’t know what’s safe to drink anymore.
Oh well. At least we’ve still got PBR.