Asahi confirms £1.8 billion acquisition of Peroni and Grolsch from AB InBev
AB InBev has accepted a £1.8 billion bid from Japan’s Asahi brewing group for four beer brands including Peroni and Grolsch.
The sale, which includes UK’s Meantime brewery and Miller Brands UK, is aimed at easing competition and other regulatory concerns occasioned by AB InBev’s £70 billion acquisition of SAB Miller, announced towards the end of last year.
The deal is conditional on the completion of the AB InBev SAB Miller merger.
It represents Asahi’s largest acquisition yet, and is the biggest transaction in the competitive Japanese drinks market since since Suntory’s 2014 acquisition of Beam Inc for £11 billion.
Japan’s drinkers are increasingly turning away from beer, and domestic sales at Japan’s five leading brewers have declined every year in the last decade, the Nikkei Asian Review reports.
Asahi fended off competition for the brands from a number of rivals, including Thailand’s largest brewery, Thai Bev.
Former Diageo chief executive, Paul Walsh, also explored a bid in partnership with private equity firm, TPG Capital.
The £1.8 billion bid values the brands at some 14 times earnings, the Financial Times reports.
“Asahi aims to expand its growth platform in Europe and become a global player with a distinct position,” the group said in a statement.
In related news, Heineken the world’s third largest brewer, reported 2015 profits of £1.5 billion this week, up 25% on 2014.