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Burness Paull Advises Jack Daniel's Maker, Brown-Forman, On Re-Entry Into Scotch Whisky Market

Burness Paull has advised  NYSE listed US spirit and wine business, Brown-Forman, on its acquisition of the iconic Scotch whisky distilleries and brands BenRiach, Glendronach and Glenglassaugh.

Leading US spirit and wine business,  Brown-Forman, whose other high-profile brands include Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia vodka and Woodford Reserve, has agreed to acquire the BenRiach Distillery Company for £285m.  The deal is the largest M&A transaction in the Scottish market so far this year.

This comes after Burness Paull handled both the largest number and highest value of corporate transactions in Scotland in 2015, according to Scottish Business Insider. The firm advised on 155 deals with a combined value of £16.9bn.

The Burness Paull team advising Brown-Forman was made up of lawyers from each of the firm’s three offices and drew on expertise from across the firm’s business units. Corporate finance partner Mark Ellis led the team. Previous sector experience includes advising on the sale of the Bruichladdich Distillery Company to Remy Cointreau for £58m.

The acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery Company marks Kentucky-headquartered Brown-Forman’s return to the Scotch whisky market after a period of just over 10 years. Brown-Forman previously had a minority shareholding in Glenmorangie plc and marketed the Glenmorangie single malt whisky brand in the US, Canada, Continental Europe and parts of Asia.

This acquisition sees Brown Forman buy into a group of Scotch whisky brands which are rich in history.  The BenRiach Distillery had been mothballed before being acquired by the current sellers in 2004, and has since then been built up over 12 years, added to by the acquisition of the iconic GlenDronach Distillery in 2008 whose history stretches back to 1826, and further enhanced by the acquisition of the Glenglassaugh Distillery in 2013, to become the “super-premium” group of brands of which Brown Forman now becomes custodian.

The BenRiach acquisition is expected to close in June.

Burness Paull acted alongside Brown-Forman’s US Counsel, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

06 May 16