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Beam hits out at US law firm investigation

Beam Inc has hit back at a US law firm’s allegation that the drinks group’s Suntory takeover is potentially “unfair” and generates “conflicts of interest”.

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Beam Inc has branded an investigation by a US law firm as “baseless and without merit”

It was announced earlier this week that Japanese drinks group Suntory Holdings is to acquire US company Beam Inc, producer of Maker’s Mark and Courvoisier Cognac, in a US$16bn (£9.7bn) deal which would make it the world’s third largest drinks company.

Washington-based class action litigation firm Finkelstein Thompson has since claimed to be investigating potential claims on behalf of Beam’s shareholders concerning the takeover.

The company said: “This investigation is focused on whether Beam’s board of directors breached its fiduciary duty in failing to maximise consideration to shareholders, the potential unfairness of the consideration to shareholders, the process by which the board considered the transaction, and potential conflicts of interests among the company’s board members.”

The firm added that under the terms of the proposed takeover, Beam shareholders will receive US$83.50 in cash for each share they own.

However, Beam Inc has dismissed the investigation of Finkelstein Thompson.

A spokesperson for the drinks group told The Spirits Business: “These efforts are baseless and without merit. The company will vigorously defend against any and all such claims.”

The deal, which takes into account Beam’s outstanding debt, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014 subject to the approval of Beam’s stockholders and regulations.

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