Beam To Buy Cooley Distillery

DEERFIELD, Illinois (AP) — Spirits company Beam Inc. said Friday it agreed to buy Cooley Distillery, the industry's last remaining independent Irish whiskey distiller, for about $95 million. Cooley owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands. It currently sells about 250,000 9-liter cases per year and has enough production capacity to support future growth, Beam said.

DEERFIELD, Illinois (AP) — Spirits company Beam Inc. said Friday it agreed to buy Cooley Distillery, the industry's last remaining independent Irish whiskey distiller, for about $95 million.

Cooley owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands. It currently sells about 250,000 9-liter cases per year and has enough production capacity to support future growth, Beam said.

The company's Kilbeggan Distillery, opened in 1757, is one of the world's oldest distilleries and produces Cooley's flagship blended Irish whiskey, Beam said.

Beam's brands include Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker's Mark Bourbon and Canadian Club Whisky.

Under the terms of the deal, Beam will pay $8.25 in cash for each share of Cooley stock. In order for the deal to go through, at least 80 percent of Cooley's shares must be tendered, but holders of over 75 percent of the stock have already agreed to tender their shares, Beam said.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012. Beam said it doesn't expect the addition of Cooley to affect its 2012 earnings, but that it should increasingly boost its profits after that.

Beam said Cooley's status as one of only three sources for Irish whiskey, and the only independent company, makes the acquisition a compelling chance to get into one of the industry's highest growth categories.

Beam shares rose 35 cents to $50 in morning trading Friday. Its shares are up from a 52-week low of $42.30 in early October.

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