FORTUNE MAKES A THREE-WAY SPLIT
Fortune Brands is breaking up but no, they’re not selling their spirits division. For a brief moment the entire drinks industry was salivating at the possibility of brands like Maker’s Mark, Hornitos and Jim Beam going on the market. Fortune, however, has other plans. In December the company announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved in principle a separation of the company’s three strong consumer businesses: distilled spirits, home and security, and golf products. Fortune will keep the spirits company and sell off its Acushnet unit, which includes brands such as Titleist and Footjoy, and spin off on a tax-free basis to shareholders its home and hardware business, which includes Moen faucets and Master locks. The announcement came two months after activist investor William Ackman took an 11 percent stake in the company, becoming its largest shareholder. The transactions are expected to take several months to complete.