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Monday ushered in the first big deal of 2014: Suntory’s takeover of Beam Inc. But the deal may not have been possible without William A. Ackman.
It was Mr. Ackman, founder of the hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, who pushed for the creation of Beam by calling for the breakup of its predecessor, Fortune Brands, a conglomerate that sold not only liquor but also golf equipment and home products….
What was left became Beam, whose shelf of spirit brands includes its namesake Jim Beam bourbon, Laphroaig Scotch whisky and Courvoisier cognac. The company’s stock price has climbed nearly 24 percent since becoming independent in October of 2011, giving it a market value of $10.9 billion as of Friday….
Shares of Beam are up 25 percent in premarket trading on Monday, surpassing Suntory’s offer of $83.50 a share. That suggests investors think a rival bid may yet emerge.
A bidding war could prove beneficial to investors, including Mr. Ackman, whose firm owned a 12.8 percent stake in the company as of Sept. 30.
Thank Ackman for the Beam Deal [DealBook]
Beam: Big Winner for Bill Ackman [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]
Suntory Holdings to Acquire Beam for $13.6 Billion [WSJ]