Asahi’s €7.3bn deal for AB InBev’s central and eastern Europe business

Drinks: Beers
Location: Europe
Other: Business

Asahi Group Holdings will be picking up AB InBev’s beer business in central and eastern Europe, which belonged to SABMiller before it was acquired by AB InBev.

The deal, worth €7.3bn, covers the company’s beer business in the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania, including property rights for brands like Pilsner Urquell. Earlier this year, Asahi bought the Peroni and Grolsch brands from SABMiller.

Much like that deal, this sale was a condition of the European Commission’s approval of AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller.

In a statement today, the Japanese company said: ‘Asahi aims to establish a unique position as a global player, mainly focusing on a leading premium brand portfolio to achieve sustainable growth’.

Cavendish Corporate Finance partner and head of consumer, Jonathan Buxton, commented: ‘This is an important transaction that will help InBev complete its $100bn takeover of SABMiller.’

Buxton added: ‘Acquiring recognised beer brands in Europe, including Pilsner Urquell which holds the top spot in terms of market share in the Czech republic, will provide international influence for Asahi.’

When the European Commission approved the sale of SABMiller to AB InBev in May this year, subject to conditions, it confirmed that AB InBev had not only offered to sell SABMiller’s business in France, Italy, Netherlands and the UK, but also its business in these five central and eastern European countries.

The Commission issued a release that stated: ‘These commitments taken together address all the Commission’s competition concerns, including those based on an increased number of multimarket contacts, as AB InBev has committed to divest essentially all the European businesses that it initially planned to acquire from SABMiller.’

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Clinton Cawood

Clinton has been writing about drinks since landing in the UK in 2006 from his native South Africa. He's partial to all things agave, and is dependent on good coffee. He's still not a morning person. Follow him on @clintc.

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