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Suntory terminates merger with Kirin

Suntory Holdings Ltd, the family-owned Japanese brewing company, announced this morning it has terminated merger talks with rival brewer Kirin. 

According to a Suntory statement, the two companies faced a "discrepancy of understanding" particularly over the merger ratio.

Kirin was more specific about why the talks broke down. "Kirin had been negotiating on the premise that the new entity would be managed as a listed company in order to ensure appropriate management independence and transparency. However, it became apparent that Suntory held a different view on this matter," a statement said.

Suntory is still 90% owned by the founding family and is currently headed by third-generation Nobutada Saji. The family was likely to become the largest shareholders in the new company.

The merger was first announced in July and would have created one of the world's largest food and beverage groups, with combined sales of $41 billion. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

The proposed merger was part of a wider bid by Saji to expand into international markets. Last year saw the family-owned brewers acquire Orangina Schweppes Group to develop Suntory's platform in Europe. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) Suntory currently enjoys a strong market share in Japan, but is looking to strengthen its international market share in light of contracting domestic markets.

Founded in 1899 by Shinjiro Torii, Suntory had 2008 revenues of $16 billion and Saji has a personal fortune of $3.5 billion.

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