Fortune Brands hires CS in fight vs Ackman: source

PHILADELPHIA (BestGrowthStock) – Fortune Brands Inc (FO.N: ) has hired Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: ) in preparation for a potential fight with activist investor and hedge fund manager William Ackman, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Ackman’s firm, Pershing Square Capital, said earlier this month that it had taken a 10.9 percent stake in Fortune Brands, which owns brands such as Jim Beam whiskey and Titleist golf balls and home supply brands such as MasterBrand Cabinets and faucet manufacturer Moen.

Bloomberg news reported that Fortune planned to meet with Ackman next week.

Ackman has not publicly disclosed his plans for Fortune.

Breaking apart the brands owned by Fortune could trigger unwanted tax bills, however, said the source, who declined to be identified by name. The source was not authorized to speak with the media. So Fortune may not be an appropriate target for a break-up, the source said.

Credit Suisse and Fortune Brands could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ackman recently acquired a stake in J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: ), which hired Goldman Sachs to assist in its defense.

Ackman has previously waged other activist shareholder battles, including a fight against retailer Target Co. (TGT.N: ).

(Reporting by Jessica Hall)

Fortune Brands hires CS in fight vs Ackman: source