Fortune Brands

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Fortune Brands to invest in liquor business

Bottles of Jim Beam bourbon sit on a shelf in a liquor store in Deerfield, Illinois, U.S., on Nov. 1, 2010. (Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

Fortune Brands Inc. plans to pour money into marketing its liquor brands like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark as it prepares to become a standalone spirits company.

A top executive also says it will keep an eye out for potential acquisitions. Get the full story »

Fortune Brands sued over vodka lip design

From the Las Vegas Sun | A southern Nevada company that markets flavored vodka is suing industry giant Fortune Brands Inc. and its Jim Beam Brands Co. unit, alleging trademark infringement. Get the full story »

Fortune acquires reality star’s Skinnygirl cocktails

Bethenny Frankel. (Skinnygirl)

Fortune Brands Inc., seeking to capitalize on the emerging market of low-calorie cocktails, has acquired the Skinnygirl brand created by reality-television star Bethenny Frankel.

Fortune’s Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. unit aims to build on the rapid growth of Skinnygirl Margarita — a bottled cocktail that boasts 100 calories per four-ounce serving — by expanding its distribution and introducing other drinks under the label. Get the full story »

Fortune sees four types of golf bidders

(Tribune File Photo)

Fortune Brands Inc. expects its golf business to attract a special kind of bidder in addition to the usual suspects — rich people who like playing the game.

The company announced plans late last year to sell or spin off its golf business, which makes Titleist golf equipment, and spin off its home products business, which makes Simonton windows and Moen faucets, amid pressure from activist investor William Ackman. Get the full story »

Adidas, Nike tee up for Fortune golf unit

Initial takeover offers for Fortune Brands’ golf unit are expected to be submitted today by a range of bidders, including Adidas AG, Nike Inc and private equity firms, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Fortune Brands said in December it would split off its golf and home products units under pressure from activist investor William Ackman.

Fortune Brands CEO gets $11.24M, 12% less

From Crain’s Chicago Business | Fortune Brands Inc. Chairman-CEO Bruce Carbonari received $11.24 million in total compensation during fiscal 2010, 12 percent less than the $12.84 million he earned the year before, according to the company’s proxy filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. | Get the full story>>

Fortune Brands profit up, separation on track

Consumer goods maker Fortune Brands posted a sharply higher quarterly profit that topped Wall Street’s expectations as an improving economy helped spur sales of premium liquor and Titleist golf clubs.

But the conglomerate said sales of its Simonton windows, up at a double-digit rate, were fueled by the expiration of a consumer tax credit for the purchase of energy-efficient home products. As a result, it expects the overall window market to fall at a mid-single-digit rate this year. Get the full story »

Americans back to drinking the good stuff

U.S. consumers started drinking more higher-end spirits last year, leading the industry to see signs of a fragile recovery.

Liquor companies sold 190.7 million nine-liter cases in the United States in 2010, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States trade group. That was up 2 percent from 2009, when a recession crimped consumers’ drinking habits. Get the full story »

Makers Mark head to step aside

For 35 years, Bill Samuels Jr. oversaw Maker’s Mark bourbon as it matured from a regional novelty started by his parents to an international brand recognizable by its red wax seal.

Now he’s planning to step aside for the next generation of his family to lead the rural Kentucky distillery, known for its distinctive square bottles that are sealed with red wax. Samuels, 70, will retire as president of Maker’s Mark on April 15, when he’ll become chairman emeritus of the brand owned by Fortune Brands Inc., the company announced. Get the full story »

Fortune hires Morgan Stanley to auction golf unit

Fortune Brands has hired Morgan Stanley to auction its golf division, a sale that may fetch as much as $1.5 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing four people with knowledge of the matter. Get the full story »

Buyout firms circle Fortune Brands’ home unit

A Moen Single Handle Bath Faucet at a Home Depot in New York, July 27, 2007. Fortune Brands Inc. is the holding company for Moen faucets, among other products. (Andrew Burton/Bloomberg News)

Several major private equity firms are considering buying Fortune Brands’ home products unit after the company announced plans to spin off the $3 billion division, five people familiar with the matter said.

Some of the large buyout firms, including Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, are studying the potential of either making offers for the entire unit or acquiring a stake in the business as part of the planned spin-off, the people said.

Such considerations are at a preliminary stage and it is unclear if Fortune would be interested in selling to buyout firms, which would incur heavy taxes, as opposed to a tax-free spinoff, the people said. Get the full story »

Diageo sees U.S. uptick, eyes Fortune spirits unit

U.K.-based Diageo PLC, the world’s largest spirits company by volume, said Tuesday it is seeing signs of a recovery in demand in the U.S., though the consumer environment in the country remains unsettled.

“The fiscal 2011 situation remains unsettled, but we see signs of recovery. There is still high unemployment and low consumer confidence, but there are emerging, positive signs of life in fall retail sales. We are encouraged (by that),” Ivan Menezes, Diageo’s president of North America and chairman of the Asia-Pacific region, said on a call with investors. Get the full story »

Fortune Brands to split in 3

Fortune Brands headquarters. (AP)

Fortune brands, the Deerfield-based purveyor of golf balls, Sauza tequila and Moen faucets, announced it intends to split the company into as many as three parts.

Under a plan approved by Fortune’s board, the company expects to spin off its home and security business to shareholders, sell or spin off its golf business and become a publicly-traded spirits company. Get the full story »

Fortune Brands reportedly considering a breakup

Fortune Brands Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Moen faucets, is growing likely to cooperate with activist shareholder William Ackman on a plan to split up the company’s three business units, people familiar with the matter said.

There is no guarantee that efforts to spin off or sell the golf equipment, spirits and home-products businesses will succeed, given the complexity inherent in untangling and valuing the three divisions, the people cautioned. Get the full story »

Fortune Brands ‘open’ to talking with Ackman

Some of Fortune Brands' products. (Candice C. Cusic/Chicago Tribune)

Fortune Brands touted the “value proposition” of remaining a diversified company Thursday but said it’s open to meeting with all its investors, including hedge fund manager William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, which has taken a 10.9 percent stake in the company.

“We’re open to constructive discussion with all our shareholders and that includes Pershing Square,” Chief Executive Bruce Carbonari said. “Our board is very engaged and very involved and along, along with management, at looking at how our business is structured.”

Added Craig Omtvedt, chief financial officer, “We’re pretty relaxed. We look forward to having a dialogue with Ackman and his team as much as we do anybody else.” Get the full story »