Beam Inc, the maker of Laphroaig and Teacher's scotch whiskies, yesterday agreed to buy Ireland's last privately-owned distiller Cooley from the Teeling family, for $95 million (£61 million).
Founded in 1989, Dublin-based Cooley, whose brands include Connemara, Greenore and Tyrconnell, is one of only three whiskey producers in Ireland, alongside French drinks giant Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers Group, the maker of Jameson Whiskey, and Scotland's largest whisky maker, Diageo Plc.
Established in 1757, Cooley's distillery at Kilbeggan, is the world's oldest licensed whisky making site. It also has a distillery at Cooley in County Louth, and County Westmeath.
Illinois-based Beam, which was spun out from Fortune Brands in October last year, is offering to pay $8.25 in cash for each outstanding share or $95 million to about 290 shareholders of Cooley. The $95-million deal includes debt of $17.2 million.
Teeling, who does not drink whisky and founded Cooley in 1987 with an investment of £106,000, will stand to make $17 million from the sale, while his son Jack, the managing director at Cooley, will net nearly $4 million.
He acquired an old alcohol plant on the Cooley peninsula that was using potatos to make ethanol, and purchased the Kilbeggan distillery in 1988.