Fortune Brands selling Cobra golf line to Puma

NEW YORK Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:41am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Diversified consumer products company Fortune Brands Inc FO.N said it was selling its Cobra brand of golf equipment to German sportswear maker Puma AG (PUMG.DE) to focus on its existing golf brands but said the deal would lower its 2010 earnings slightly.

Fortune Brands, which also sells spirits such as Jim Beam and Canadian Club whiskey, said the sale would include the brand, inventory, intellectual property and endorsement contracts, and that all staff dedicated to Cobra will become Puma employees after the deal closes.

Fortune Brands' golf business, Acushnet Co, also sells golf balls and shoes and gloves under the Titleist and FootJoy brands.

The sale, the terms of which were not disclosed, will allow Fortune Brands to concentrate on Titleist and FootJoy, which make up its "highest-return growth opportunities in golf," Chief Executive Bruce Carbonari said in a statement.

The company said the deal would reduce its 2010 earnings by 2 cents per share before one-time items. In January, Fortune Brands forecast 2010 earnings of $2.30 to $2.80 per share. It expects the sale to result in a one-time gain of five cents a share.

Fortune Brands said the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Fortune Brands shares were up 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $46.91 in late Wednesday morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by John Wallace and Tim Dobbyn)

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