Whiskey companies start to reach the "age" to be distilled

Like good whiskies and fine wines, M&A deals can take a considerable time from being "laid down" (aka rumoured) to reach the formal offer and announcement stage. Recently three whiskey company deals which have been aging for a considerable period of time appear to finally be at the stage where an official acknowledgement of the process is imminent.

Yesterday Bacardi & Company, the largest privately-owned spirits company in the world, was again linked with Brown-Forman, the Kentucky, US-based producer of Jack Daniels whiskey. The firms were originally linked nearly five years ago back in April 2009, when Brown-Forman was valued at over USD 6bn based on its share price at the time. Considering the target’s closing price prior to the emergence of the story this time round, the company would have a value of over USD 17bn - a hefty increase on five years ago.

The first of the other two deals suggesting that consolidation in the whiskey industry is helping drive the ageing process is Suntory's 100 per cent acquisition of Jim Beam. This deal was first mooted back in 2011 and was formally announced on 13th January this year, valuing the company at USD 16bn. Add into the mix the potential sale of Whyte & Mackay by India's United Breweries, valuing the firm at just under USD 1bn after maturing nicely since January 2012, and M&A dealmakers and whiskey aficionados will be licking their lips in anticipation.