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Pershing Square’s Stake In Beam Valued At Around $1.13 Billion

February 15, 2012

Beam Inc.’s largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management, led by activist investor Bill Ackman, held 20.8 million shares worth about $1.13 billion, or roughly one-eighth of Beam’s current market capitalization, at the close of last year, according to a recent filing. Ackman first disclosed a 10.9% stake in former Beam parent Fortune Brands in October 2010.

In his third quarter letter to Pershing investors last November, Ackman said, “Beam now has many strategic alternatives available, including a sale of the business, a merger with another spirits company, and the acquisition of other brands. We believe the spirits industry will see significant consolidation over the next several years, and Beam’s leading global positions in Bourbon and Tequila could entice several bidders or merger partners in the future.”

Ackman added that Beam is now “the world’s only pure-play, publicly traded global spirits company that is not family controlled or influenced—in other words, it is a very scarce asset.”

Beam has said repeatedly that it intends to be an acquirer and not a seller. The company’s comparable net sales rose 8% to $2.3 billion in 2011, led by a 7% increase for Jim Beam, as well as double-digit growth for Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier and Teacher’s and an exponential jump for its Skinnygirl cocktail brand.

 

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