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Acquisitions

Japan's Suntory completes buyout of Jim Beam maker

Japan's Suntory Holdings has announced it's finalized the takeover of Beam Inc. in the US, the company behind Jim Beam bourbon. The deal will secure the Japanese a foothold in the American liquor market.

Suntory announced Thursday it had completed the buyout of Beam Inc. by acquiring all outstanding shares for $13.8 billion (9.95 billion euros), while taking on $2 billion of the US-based firm's debt.

" The transaction announced earlier this year creates a company with a strong number-three position in the global premium spirits market," Suntory said in a statement. Sales of both companies amounted to $4.6 billion in 2013.

The combined company will be called Beam Suntory Inc. and will have a workforce of about 3,400.

Lifted spirits?

The buyout marks the latest foreign acquisition by family-owned Suntory and reflects a larger trend seeing Japanese firms looking for other markets as Japan's shrinking population drinks less alcohol.

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The Beam deal is the third-biggest overseas takeover by a Japanese company, after mobile carrier Softbank's acquisition of US-based Sprint Nextel and Japan Tobacco's purchase of the UK's Gallaher.

Analysts have warned, though, the latest merger will burden the Japanese drinks giant with heavy debt, with Suntory partly financing the deal through bank loans to the tune of $8 billion.

hg / kpc (AFP, dpa)

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