Pernod Ricard in Korean buyout

Pernod Ricard has signed an agreement to acquire HiteJinro’s 30% stake in Pernod Ricard Korea Imperial for a total price of KRW 70 billion (circ. EUR 48 million), to be paid in cash.

Pernod Ricard currently owns 70% of Imperial and the buyout will give Pernod Ricard 100% ownership of the company, owner of local whiskies in the Korean market.

Pierre Coppéré, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia said: “The acquisition is in line with Pernod Ricard’s business model to have full ownership, where relevant, of our brands and distribution networks. We are pleased to have come to an agreement with HiteJinro on the purchase of their minority stake in Imperial.”

According to Jean-Manuel Spriet, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Korea: “This acquisition demonstrates our continued commitment in the Imperial brand and our confidence in the ability to seize opportunities in the Korean whisky market.”

The transaction is expected to close on or before 15 June 2012.

HiteJinro produces the largest spirits brand in the world, according to Drinks International's Millionaires' Club. In 2011, its soju Jinro shipped 61.38 million nine litre cases. To put this into context, the next largest is Diageo's Smirnoff, with 24.7m cases.