Belfast Telegraph

Asahi expanding to European market with £2bn deal to buy Peroni and Grolsch brands

By Holly Williams

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed a €2.55bn (£2bn) 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 £71bn 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.

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 $12bn (£7.9bn).

Belfast Telegraph