I'll Have A Double Merger Mania, Please

Grand Met-Guinness means more liquor linkups to come

They weren't exactly crying into their Laurent-Perrier champagne. But at a private dinner at London's Dukes hotel in April, Grand Metropolitan PLC Chairman George J. Bull and Tony Greener, chairman of Guinness PLC, were well aware of their common problem. For years, shares of both companies had lagged the market. The main reason: sluggish sales and thinning margins in their liquor businesses. About halfway through the meal, Bull turned to Greener and asked: "Perhaps the time is right to talk about a merger?"

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