The biggest spirits industry buyouts

24th January, 2014 by Amy Hopkins - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Guinness and Grand Metropolitan form Diageo

Spirits-buyouts-DiageoProbably the most significant merger ever to take place in drinks industry history, two British companies, distiller Grand Metropolitan and brewer Guinness, merged in 1997 to create a $33bn (£20.5bn) conglomerate – Diageo, now the world’s biggest drinks company.

The new wine and spirits business was three times as large as those of its nearest rivals at the time, Canada’s Seagram’s and the UK’s Allied Domecq.

At the time, Grand Metropolitan and Guinness combined ranked as the world’s seventh-largest food and drink company in terms of the total value of their shares outstanding, just behind McDonald’s and just ahead of Campbell Soup.

Tony Greener, Guinness’s chairman, and George Bull, the chairman of Grand Met, said they agreed to explore a merger over dinner in London just one month before it happened. 

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