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Jim Beam, neat, is company's new strategy

By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Jim Beam bourbon maker Fortune Brands said Wednesday that it will focus on its liquor business, spinning off or selling other parts of the company, including home furnishings and Titleist golf products.

Fortune Brands said its board voted to separate the three parts of the company. The company will focus solely on Beam Global Spirits & Wine, the business unit that it describes as the leading U.S.-based liquor company. The unit, with $2.5 billion in annual sales, produces Knob Creek, Maker's Mark, Cruzan, Courvoisier, Canadian Club, Teacher's Scotch and other brands.

The company said it will spin off to shareholders its Home & Security unit, including faucet-producer Moen and MasterBrand Cabinets, as well as Master Lock. The unit, which has $3 billion in annual revenue, will become an independent, publicly traded company.

Fortune Brands said it will sell its golf unit, the Acushnet Company, which produces Titleist golf balls and FootJoy shoes and gloves. The unit has $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

Fortune Brands' (FO, Fortune 500) stock rose about 3% in premarket trading.

"While the breadth and balance of our portfolio have served shareholders very well, we see the potential for even greater value by separating our businesses into focused companies at a time when they have emerged from the economic downturn in such strong positions," said Bruce Carbonari, chief executive of Fortune Brands. To top of page

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