Beverage giant closing in on deal

At an industry tasting event in Manhattan last month, the buzz was all about the impending purchase of another tequila maker by industry giant Brown-Forman Corp.

No doubt that the deal with Grupo Industrial Herradura of Mexico will be completed before Christmas, I was told. Now comes word that although the deal is about to go through, it won't close until at least Jan. 11 of the new year.

Brown-Forman agreed last August to pay $876 million to buy Casa Herradura, as the Gudalajara company (seen here) is commonly known. It has about 1,100 employees and is the third-largest tequila manufacturer, behind Cuervo and Sauza. It reported revenue of about $200 million in 2005, with about 80 percent of its sales volume in Mexico, the rest primarily in the United States.

When the deal is completed, Brown-Forman will own Herradura and El Jimador tequila brands plus Mexican sales and distribution company that imports and distributes brands such as Red Bull, Skyy Vodka, Don Q Rum, Disaronno Amaretto and Osborne Brandy.

(Update: The completion of the sale of Heradura to Brown-Forman was announced by principals of the two companies on Jan. 18, 2007.)

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