In news hitting the Street this morning, Fortune Brands reported that it has agreed to sell its U.S. wine business to Constellation Brands for $885 million. The sale includes brands such as Clos du Bois, Geyser Peak, Wild Horse, Buena Vista Carneros and Gary Farrell, as well as the associated vineyards, winemaking assets and sales organization. The deal is expected to close by December 31.
FO stated that it will realize an estimated after-tax gain of $50 million to $60 million on the sale. Fortune expects the deal to be slightly dilutive to 2008 earnings.
Meanwhile, STZ reported that, on a comparable basis, the deal will slightly add to earnings for fiscal 2009 and be modestly dilutive to earnings for fiscal 2008.
The shares of FO dropped 1.7% on Friday, falling below key support at the 80 level. The stock is now perched on long-term support at its ascending 20-month moving averages. On the other hand, the shares of STZ dropped 2.8% on Friday, notching their first weekly finish below their 10-week and 20-week moving averages since the beginning of August.
From a sentiment perspective, STZ has been the focus of more bearish sentiment from option players than FO. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 0.61, which is higher than 62% of all those taken during the past 52 weeks. Meanwhile the SOIR for FO is higher than only 34% of the readings taken during the past year. Furthermore, the short-interest ratio for STZ stands at a hefty 7.2 times the stock's average daily trading volume.