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Fortune Brands Inc (FBI)

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Monday 03 November, 2003

Fortune Brands Inc

Acquisition

Fortune Brands Inc
                  

Fortune Brands Announces Home Products Acquisition; Company to Buy Therma-Tru,
#1 Brand of Residential Entry Doors; High-Return Acquisition Expected to Add
              Approximately 15 Cents to EPS in First Year

Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO) today announced that its Home and Hardware
business has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Therma-Tru Corp., the
leading designer and manufacturer of residential entry doors in the United
States.

Therma-Tru, with annual sales exceeding $400 million, has consistently driven
strong, profitable growth with industry-leading innovation, quality,
distribution and customer service. Therma-Tru's #1 market share has grown to
approximately 25% and is substantially higher in the industry's fastest-growing
segment, high-performance fiberglass entry doors. Therma-Tru uses proprietary
technology to create fiberglass entry doors that resemble wood but deliver
superior thermal performance and durability.

'As the leader in an attractive home products category, Therma-Tru is an
excellent strategic fit that opens the door to additional growth in our
fast-growing Home & Hardware business,' said Fortune Brands chairman & CEO Norm
Wesley. 'Therma-Tru fits our focus on leading brands, shares beneficial
demographics and market fundamentals with our other home products brands, and
creates valuable sales growth and cost synergies within our $3 billion Home &
Hardware business. Like kitchens and baths, entry doors add significant value to
the home and are among the highest-return improvements homeowners can make.

'We expect Therma-Tru to be another high-impact, high-return addition from the
start, with earnings accretion in the range of 15 cents per share in the first
year and even more in succeeding years,' Wesley continued. The purchase price is
approximately $925 million and is within the company's targeted valuation range
for high-return acquisitions. The acquisition will be funded with a combination
of short- and long-term debt. 'Our financial strength and our balance sheet will
continue to be powerful assets to create value for our shareholders,' Wesley
added.

Sales, Distribution and Purchasing Synergies

Therma-Tru will join the company's Home & Hardware business, which also includes
Moen, the #1 faucet brand in North America, MasterBrand Cabinets, the #2 kitchen
& bath cabinet business, Master Lock, the world's #1 padlock brand, and Waterloo
Industries, the leading manufacturer of tool storage products.

'We see opportunities to leverage our strong customer relationships in both the
replace/remodel and new construction channels to further grow Therma-Tru, and to
use our combined purchasing power and best practices to achieve cost and asset
savings,' said Bruce Carbonari, president and CEO of Fortune Brands' Home &
Hardware business. 'Therma-Tru has a highly attractive growth and return
profile, underpinned by its powerful position in the fastest growing segment of
the residential entry door market, strong brand awareness, potential for growth
in categories like patio doors, and the excellent underlying demographics in the
home products market. We're excited to welcome Therma-Tru's top-notch management
team and great workforce to the Fortune Brands family.'

'Our new relationship with Fortune Brands is a smart decision that will help
fuel our future growth and provide new opportunities for Therma-Tru,' said Carl
Hedlund, president and CEO of Therma-Tru. 'The market-leading Therma-Tru brand
is an outstanding complement to Fortune Brands' Home & Hardware business and
family of great consumer brands. This is also an ideal marriage of our cultures,
operating philosophy and commitment to people. It will allow us to enhance
Therma-Tru's presence in the home building and home improvement channels and
open new doors for growth.'

Therma-Tru is based in Maumee, Ohio and has production facilities in Indiana,
Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona and Mexico. Additional information
on Therma-Tru Doors is available at www.thermatru.com.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to
close within the next two weeks.

Conference Call to be Webcast

Fortune Brands will offer a live webcast of its conference call discussing
today's announcement. The webcast will be available in the Investor Information
section of the company's web site, www.fortunebrands.com, beginning at 10:00 AM
ET today, November 3rd. The conference call will feature comments by Fortune
Brands chairman & CEO Norm Wesley. It is recommended that listeners log on 10
minutes prior to the start of the call.

An Internet replay of the conference call will be available at
www.fortunebrands.com beginning this afternoon. Those without Internet access
may listen to the call by dialing 1-706-643-3726 prior to 10:00 AM ET today.

Fortune Brands, Inc. is a $6 billion leading consumer brands company. Its
operating companies have premier brands and leading market positions in home and
hardware products, spirits and wine, golf equipment and office products. Home
and hardware brands include Moen faucets, Aristokraft, Schrock, Diamond and
Omega cabinets, Master Lock padlocks and Waterloo tool storage sold by units of
Fortune Brands Home & Hardware, Inc. Major spirits and wine brands sold by units
of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. include Jim Beam and Knob Creek bourbons,
DeKuyper cordials, The Dalmore single malt Scotch, Vox vodka and Geyser Peak and
Wild Horse wines. Acushnet Company's golf brands include Titleist, Cobra and
FootJoy. Office brands include Swingline, Wilson Jones, Kensington and Day-Timer
sold by units of ACCO World Corporation. Fortune Brands, headquartered in
Lincolnshire, Illinois, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the
ticker symbol FO and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

To receive company news releases by e-mail, please visit www.fortunebrands.com.

This press release contains statements relating to future results, which are
forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking
statements speak only as of the date hereof. Actual results may differ
materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties,
including but not limited to changes in general economic conditions, foreign
exchange rate fluctuations, changes in interest rates, returns on pension
assets, competitive product and pricing pressures, trade consolidations, the
impact of excise tax increases with respect to distilled spirits, regulatory
developments, the uncertainties of litigation, changes in golf equipment
regulatory standards, the impact of weather, particularly on the home products
and golf brand groups, expenses and disruptions related to shifts in
manufacturing to different locations and sources, the impact of weak conditions
in the leisure travel industry on our golf and spirits and wine businesses, as
well as other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the
Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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