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Bacardi CEO Says Company May Hit Acquisition Trail To Fill Bourbon Gap

February 24, 2014

Bacardi Ltd. CEO Ed Shirley says the world’s largest privately-owned spirits group is eager to fill the Bourbon and rye gap in its portfolio, and may look to acquisitions in the segment. Speaking to the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper over the weekend, Shirley said, “The obvious gap that we have would be in Bourbons and ryes,” and added that Bacardi has “a track record in participation in industry consolidation, as we have shown with (previous acquisitions of) Martini, Dewar’s, Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose. If it’s right for us, we will do something.”

Shirley also noted that while Bacardi isn’t currently active in Bourbon, it is a key player in Scotch whisky, with Dewar’s and a host of single malts, including Aberfeldy and recently relaunched Glen Deverin. Bacardi also owns the Royal Brackla, Macduff and Craigellachie malts, which Shirley said could be discovery brands in the segment looking ahead.

With Beam Inc. set to be acquired by Japan’s Suntory in a pending deal worth $16 billion, analyst chatter has centered on Brown-Forman as the next attractive consolidation target, given its strong position in the thriving American whiskey segment with Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and other brands. Brown-Forman is majority-controlled by the Brown family, which has shown no intention of parting with the business.

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