The $39 billion merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan is expected to close Dec. 17 after receiving clearance today from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. European regulators conditionally approved the deal in October. Diageo, as the combined company has named itself, must spin off Dewar's Scotch whisky and the Bombay gin brands within six months; industry officials expect most major spirits marketers will look at acquiring the labels. FTC said Guinness has a 58% U.S. share of premium gin with Tanqueray to Grand Met's 15% share with Bombay. In premium scotch, Guinness, with Johnnie Walker Red and Dewar's, had a 68% share of the U.S. market, and Grand Met, with J&B, a 24% share. Dewar's currently is handled by Leo Burnett
USA, Chicago, and the Bombay gins are handled by Margeottes/Fertitta & Partners, New York.
Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.