Asahi snaps up Fuller's beer business in £250 million deal

Japanese brewer Asahi is the new owner of London Pride after it agreed a £250 million deal to purchase Fuller’s brewing, wholesaling and distribution operations.

It will now incorporate the Fuller’s beer business into its own operations, bolstering its portfolio with ESB, Frontier lager and Fuller’s Vintage Ale along with the flagship London Pride.

It will also take on Cornish Orchard cider range, Sussex-based Dark Star brewery - which Fuller's bought last year - and distribution arm Nectar Imports as part of the deal, which leaves London-based Fuller’s as a pure pub operator.

Shares in Fuller’s rocketed as a result of the news.

Asahi has been steadily growing its portfolio in recent years and in December 2016 it spend €10 billion in 2016 to buy a number of brands from SAB Miller.

The firm needed to offload brands after AB Inbev’s takeover and Asahi snapped up Peroni, Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell, Tyskie and Lech.

They joined Asahi Super Dry in a strong lager range, and it is now a major player in the ale scene too.

Hector Gorosabel, chief executive at Asahi Europe, said: “Asahi Europe has already established a leading presence in the premium beer category. Welcoming these brands and operations to our business will further consolidate that position, enabling us to even better serve our customers and consumers.

“At the same time, our global footprint will enable us to unlock the potential in these brands internationally to significantly enhance their scale and value. It is another step towards realising Asahi Europe’s vision of becoming a global brewing powerhouse built on our commitment to brewing excellence and quality.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Simon Emeny, Fuller's chief executive, said: “Brewing has formed an integral part of our history and brand identity, however the core of Fuller’s and the driver of our future growth is now our premium pubs and hotels business.”

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