Fortune Brands to focus on Teacher's brand in India

BANGALORE: Fortune Brands, a US $7 billion global liquor company, has completed the transaction for the acquisition of more than 20 spirits and wine brands that will elevate the level of its portfolio, expand its international strength and take it closer to global leadership in premium spirits and wine.



The brands and related assets are being acquired from Pernod Ricard following the latter's acquisition of Allied Domecq earlier. Fortune Brands' wine spirits and wine business is handled by Jim Beam Brands.

UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya had expressed intent of acquiring some brands of Allied Domecq which would be put up for sale as a necessary trim off. After Pernod Ricard's acquisition of Allied Domecq, Mallya said there would be rationalisation of certain brands within the portfolio.

In India, Fortune has reiterated its commitment to continue building the Teacher's Scotch Whisky brand. A release quotes Jim Beam Brands VP-Global Travel Retail & Affiliates, Rupert Patrick as saying, "Jim Beam Brands is delighted to own a successful brand like Teacher's scotch whisky in India and recognises Teacher's market leadership in the `bottled in India' Scotch segment in India. We have a keen interest in the strategy adopted for the steady and robust growth of the Teacher's Scotch whisky portfolio in India and are committed to take the brand forward to make it even more successful. We recognise the great potential and opportunity for Teacher's Scotch whisky in the country and we will work closely with the team behind the successful operations in India. We are currently involved in the integration process for our businesses following the acquisition. Further announcements on Fortune's plans for the Teacher's brand in India will be made in due course."



Fortune Brands is acquiring some of the premier growth brands in the world, including Teacher's Scotch Whisky, Sauza tequila, Courvoisier cognac, Canadian Club whisky, Laphroaig single-malt Scotch and Clos du Bois wines. The company is also acquiring leading national brands in the U.K., Spain and Germany, Allied Domecq's distribution operations in those markets and for California wine, Pernod Ricard's Larios brand, and production facilities related to the brands. The new brands will more than double revenue for the company's spirits and wine business and place it among the top four spirits companies in the world. While there will be a transitional period not to exceed six months during which the assets will be transferred to Fortune Brands, the company will manage the brands and assets - and receive the profits and cash flows - as of the closing.

The release further quotes Jim Beam Brands president Tom Flocco as saying "Our strategy for Jim Beam Brands going forward is simple. We'll invest in the continued growth of our leading spirits and wine brands with a strong emphasis on marketing. We'll leverage our broader, stronger portfolio to support brand growth. And we'll capitalize on new international growth opportunities. To achieve our goals, we'll rely on a powerful combination of talent from both Jim Beam Brands and Allied Domecq. We're excited to welcome to our family the teams of people who have helped build these brands into global and national leaders," added Flocco.



The liquor business is undergoing a period of consolidation. Earlier this year, Mallya completed the acquisition of Shaw Wallace for Rs 15.45 billion to become the second largest distilled spirits company in the world. He is eyeing further acquisitions which could take him to the top slot in that segment.

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