Belfast Telegraph

Beer brands eyed for sale as AB InBev seeks backing for SABMiller takeover

A clutch of European beer brands are being eyed for sale as Anheuser-Busch InBev seeks regulatory backing for its £71 billion takeover of SABMiller.

SAB and AB InBev said it was willing to off-load its central and eastern European arm in a bid to assuage regulatory concern over the tie-up agreed in November last year.

The brands on the sale block include Dreher Breweries in Hungary, Kompania Piwowarska in Poland, Plzensky Prazdroj and Pivovary Topvar in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Ursus Breweries in Romania.

The proposal comes on top of last week's £2 billion deal to sell beer brands Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime to Japanese brewery giant Asahi.

It said any deal for the central and eastern European business was subject to the European Commission's review and approval and would only go through once AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller was secured.

Alan Clark, SABMiller chief executive, said the central and European operation was a "core part" of the firm's growth story since it embarked on an international expansion more than 20 years ago.

He added: " We are very proud of these businesses, their brands and the people that have made them the successes they are today, and we will continue to grow and support them throughout this process."

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

AB InBev has also 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 euros (£9.3 billion).

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

SAB employs around 69,000 people in more than 80 countries and has global annual sales of more than 26 billion US dollars (£18 billion).

AB InBev's takeover of SAB is expected to go through in the second half of 2016, if it gets clearance from regulators and shareholders.