Belfast Telegraph

Distillery investors toast €73m sale

By Siobhan Creaton

The world's oldest distillery, Cooley, has been sold to the American bourbon whiskey giant Beam for €73m (£61m).

The deal is a big pay day for its investors, including entrepreneur John Teeling and his family, who own about one-third of the company.

They will receive more than €20m (£17m).

The next biggest shareholder is businessman Lee Mallaghan, who developed the Carton House Hotel in Co Kildare. His shares are worth over €6m (£5m).

Donegal businessman Willie McCarter is also one of Cooley's founders, and he is in line to receive over €3m (£2.5m) from the proceeds of its sale.

Two other directors, David Hynes and James Finn, will get about €500,000 each for their shares.

Another 290 smaller shareholders, who invested in the company through a Business Expansion Scheme in 1989, will also be in line for a payout once it is approved next year.

Mr Teeling said none of the shareholders had put any more money into the company since 1991.

The sale price, he said, was a "good" return on their investment.

Beam, which is famous for its Jim Beam bourbon, is paying $8.25 (£5.31) in cash per share to Cooley shareholders and will take over its entire business.

The Illinois-based whiskey company's president, Matt Shattock, said Cooley's brands and distilleries had "a heritage that is unmatched in the world of Irish whiskey".

Cooley's existing staff and the management team, led by Mr Teeling's son Jack, will all stay with the business.

The board of directors, including Mr Teeling, will also remain in place for some time.

Belfast Telegraph