Japanese brewer Asahi says cheers with European acquisitions 01/11/2017 | By Stefan Stoyanov, Global Head of M&A

Japan’s beverage manufacturer Asahi Group has agreed to acquire the Czech, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian and Romanian businesses (collectively called ‘the CEE business’) of Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev in a deal worth USD 7.7 billion. The deal will turn Asahi into Europe’s third largest brewer.

It was previously reported that InBev had received bids from at least six other investors, including Dutch financial group PPF, Hungarian oil major MOL, Polish insurance company PZU, and U.S. private equity firms Advent and KKR. Dutch brewer Carlsberg was also considered to be among the potentially interested buyers.

The CEE business of AB InBev comprises eight companies with consolidated revenues of USD 1.7 billion and beer brands including Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Tyskie, Lech and Zubr. The brands were owned by SABMiller prior its USD 100 billion acquisition by InBev, and their sale was on the list of commitments InBev made to the European Commission in order to receive regulatory approval for the SABMiller deal.

Asahi’s purchase of the InBev CEE business is part of its strategy to continue expanding in Europe. Asahi had previously also bought the Italian, Dutch, and U.K.-based assets of SABMiller, including premium beer brands Peroni and Grolsch.

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