The new London-based company, called GMG Brands, will include four divisions: United Distillers & Vintners (the two groups' combined spirits and wines business); Pillsbury Co. (foods); Burger King Corp. (restaurants); and Guinness Brewing Worldwide (beer).
GMG would have had a pre-tax operating profit of $3.5 billion on combined sales of about $21 billion for 1996. Its combined spirits and wines group would have accounted for 59% of profit, with food and brewing accounting for the rest.
In the U.S., Grand Met was the 13th-largest national advertiser based on 1995 spending (including unmeasured media) of $950 million, a total likely to have hit $1.31 billion last year. Estimated combined U.S. spending for Guinness brands last year is about $60 million.
GrandMet's International Distillers & Vintners and Guinness' United Distillers each own nine of the world's top-selling spirits brands. Allied Domecq is a distant second.
Guinness uses two main agencies globally: Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide for Guinness beer and Leo Burnett Co. for UD's spirit brands. Its portfolio includes Johnnie Walker, Bell's and Dewar's Scotch whiskies, and Gordon's and Tanqueray gins. Carat handles a significant amount of media buying for UD brands around the world. Although Guinness stout is the brewer's key beer brand, over a third of brewing sales are accounted for by Spain's Cruzcampo brands, Harp lager, Smithwick's ale and Kaliber alcohol-free lager.
London-based network Lowe Howard-Spink is one of IDV's main agencies. Smirnoff vodka is handled globally by Lowe Howard-Spink, which also handles the Baileys and Sheridans liqueurs and the rum drink Malibu internationally. Other key IDV brands include J&B whisky and Gilbey's gin.
Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.