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Brewer AB InBev agrees sale of Peroni and Grolsch lagers for £2bn

Published 19/04/2016

The Grolsch lager brand is being sold by AB InBev to Japanese brewer Asahi
The Grolsch lager brand is being sold by AB InBev to Japanese brewer Asahi

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed a 2.55 billion euro (£2 billion) deal to sell European lager brands Peroni and Grolsch as it moves a step closer to sealing its takeover of SABMiller.

Japanese brewer Asahi - known for its Super Dry beer - will buy Peroni and Grolsch in the UK and Europe, as well as London's Meantime brewery, which are being put up for sale by AB InBev to help ease regulatory concerns over its £71 billion takeover of SABMiller.

Asahi first tabled its offer in February and the pair have since been in exclusive talks.

The deal is dependent on the completion of the SABMiller takeover, which is set to go through in the second half of the year.

Asahi's offer includes the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands, as well as SABMiller's Italian, Dutch and British operations which make and distribute the brands.

It also includes the global rights to the Grolsch, Peroni and Meantime brands, except in the United States.

Asahi said on unveiling its offer in February that it had been looking to grow internationally "for some time", adding that it hoped the deal would help the group " expand its growth platform in Europe and become a global player with a distinct position".

Buying Peroni and Grolsch would allow Asahi to tap into growth outside a declining Japanese lager market, where it has a 38% share.

AB InBev confirmed it was putting Peroni, Grolsch and its Meantime brewery on the sale block in December, less than a month after formally agreeing the SABMiller takeover following protracted talks.

It is seeking to get the green light from authorities for the deal, which marks the largest takeover of a UK-based firm as well as the fourth biggest in global corporate history.

AB InBev has already announced the sale of SABMiller's US joint venture, with partner Molson Coors agreeing to buy the remaining 58% stake in MillerCoors for 12 billion US dollars (£7.9 billion).

SAB has invested heavily in Peroni in recent years, marketing the brand across Europe and America to help cement the lager as a global brand, alongside Grolsch.

A sale of the Meantime brewery in Greenwich will bring to a close a brief spell under SAB's ownership after it was bought by the group last May.

SAB, which was founded in South Africa, snapped it up under plans to tap into the burgeoning UK craft beer market.

Meantime was founded 15 years ago by brewer Alastair Hook and its most popular brews include London Lager, London Pale Ale and London Porter.

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