One of Dublin’s most famous landmarks could soon be owned by a Brazilian investment group.
Media reports say Guinness owner Diageo may be bought by Brazil’s private equity firm 3G Capital.
The Guinness brewery at St James’ Gate has been one of the city’s biggest employers over the centuries and includes the most-visited tourist attraction in the country. Presidents, prime ministers and film stars have been photographed enjoying a pint of plain.
Now Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann and his partners in 3G, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, are in the initial stages of studying a buyout offer for Diageo which is also the world’s biggest spirits company with drinks such as Johnnie Walker whisky.
The three former investment bankers helped build up Anheuser Busch InBev into the world’s biggest brewer. They subsequently bought Burger King and Heinz and are now merging Heinz with Kraft Foods.
A buyout of Diageo would be the biggest in history and well beyond anything 3G has done. The Brazilians would need to raise about $73bn (€64bn) to buy the company.
Diageo was created following a murky business deal in 1997 when UK property conglomerate Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness to form Diageo.
Diageo is an invented name which was created by the branding consultancy Wolff Olins.
The word comes from the Latin word “dies” meaning day and the Greek root “geo” meaning world. The company hoped it would remind investors that Diageo gave pleasure to people every day worldwide.
Spokesmen for 3G and AB InBev were unavailable.
Media reports earlier this year said Diageo was already considering the possible sale of its Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland for around £200m (€272m) and its wine business.
Diageo also owns Smithwick’s and Harp Lager.