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Fortune Brands Inc (FBI)

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Wednesday 01 October, 2008

Fortune Brands Inc

Fortune Brands Completes Transactions with Pern...

Fortune Brands, Inc.
Media Relations:
Clarkson Hine
(847) 484-4415
or
Investor Relations:
Tony Diaz
(847) 484-4410
                  

Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO):

    --  Fortune Brands Receives $230 Million for Early Termination of U.S.
        Spirits Distribution Joint Venture, Establishes Own U.S. Sales Force

    --  Company Acquires Cruzan, Fastest Growing Rum Brand in the U.S.

Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO) today completed the previously announced
transactions with Pernod Ricard to accelerate the end of the U.S. spirits
distribution joint venture with Pernod's V&S Group brands and to also acquire
the Cruzan Rum brand.

As a result, Fortune Brands has received $230 million in pre-tax proceeds from
Pernod Ricard to end the U.S. distribution agreement effective October 1, 2008.
As of that date, the company's Beam Global spirits unit will integrate the joint
venture sales force into its own operations, simplifying its route to market in
the U.S. and providing greater control over its own sales and distribution in
its largest market.

Additionally, Fortune Brands has completed acquisition of the Cruzan Rum brand
from Pernod Ricard for $100 million, giving the company an excellent position in
the attractive premium rum segment.

'These transactions serve our shareholders very well and enable our spirits
business to pursue accelerated growth with clarity, confidence and a simpler
sales structure in our largest market,' said Bruce Carbonari, chairman-elect and
chief executive officer of Fortune Brands. 'As the payment from Pernod more than
offsets the loss of the remaining cost synergies from the joint venture, we're
being well compensated. At the same time, we see significant benefits to owning
and developing a high-performance spirits sales force in the U.S. that will be
sharply focused solely on our own brands. We're also excited to enhance our
portfolio with the Cruzan Rum brand, which establishes a growing position for us
in the attractive premium rum category.'

With strong double-digit growth in 2007, Cruzan is the fastest growing rum brand
in the U.S. Because Cruzan is already sold in the U.S. by the joint venture
sales force being transitioned into Beam Global, the company anticipates a
smooth integration of the brand into its portfolio. Cruzan joins the company's
portfolio of premium global brands that includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark
bourbons, Sauza tequila, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac and Laphroaig
single malt Scotch. Cruzan had worldwide net sales of approximately $50 million
in 2007 on volume of approximately 750,000 cases. The acquisition includes the
Cruzan distillery on St. Croix, as well as inventory.

The company's Beam Global spirits business is the fourth largest premium spirits
business in the world, and its case volume going forward will be the second
largest in the U.S.

About Fortune Brands

Fortune Brands, Inc. is a leading consumer brands company with annual sales
exceeding $8 billion. Its operating companies have premier brands and leading
market positions in distilled spirits, home and hardware, and golf products.
Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. is the company's premium spirits business.
Major spirits brands include Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila,
Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Cruzan rum, Teacher's and Laphroaig
Scotch, and DeKuyper cordials. Home and hardware brands include Moen faucets,
Aristokraft, Omega, Diamond and Kitchen Craft cabinetry, Therma-Tru door
systems, Simonton windows, Master Lock padlocks and Waterloo tool storage sold
by units of Fortune Brands Home & Hardware LLC. Acushnet Company's golf brands
include Titleist, Cobra and FootJoy. Fortune Brands, headquartered in Deerfield,
Illinois, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FO
and is included in the S&P 500 Index, the MSCI World Index and the Ocean Tomo
300(TM) Patent Index.

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

Forward-Looking Statements

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, and the company does not assume any
obligation to update, amend or clarify them to reflect events, new information
or circumstances occurring after the date of this release. Actual results may
differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and
uncertainties, including but not limited to: competitive market pressures
(including pricing pressures); consolidation of trade customers; successful
development of new products and processes; ability to secure and maintain rights
to intellectual property; risks pertaining to strategic acquisitions and joint
ventures, including the potential financial effects and performance of such
acquisitions or joint ventures, and integration of acquisitions and the related
confirmation or remediation of internal controls over financial reporting;
changes related to the privatization of V&S Group; ability to attract and retain
qualified personnel; general economic conditions, including the U.S. housing
market; weather; risks associated with doing business outside the United States,
including currency exchange rate risks; interest rate fluctuations; commodity
and energy price volatility; costs of certain employee and retiree benefits and
returns on pension assets; dependence on performance of distributors and other
marketing arrangements; the impact of excise tax increases on distilled spirits;
changes in golf equipment regulatory standards and other regulatory
developments; potential liabilities, costs and uncertainties of litigation;
impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or other acquired intangibles;
historical consolidated financial statements that may not be indicative of
future conditions and results due to the recent portfolio realignment; any
possible downgrades of the company's credit ratings; 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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Fortune Brands, Inc.
Media Relations:
Clarkson Hine
(847) 484-4415
or
Investor Relations:
Tony Diaz
(847) 484-4410
*T
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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