AB InBev to sell more SAB assets to win EU’s approval

Reuters, BRUSSELS

Sat, Apr 30, 2016 - Page 15

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, intends to sell the East European brewing assets of SABMiller PLC to secure regulatory approval for its US$100 billion-plus takeover of its rival.

AB InBev has already lined up Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings Ltd to buy SABMiller’s Grolsch, Peroni and Meantime brands for 2.55 billion euros (US$2.90 billion) and yesterday said it has put up for sale SABMiller’s activities in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

It has notified the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, which is set to deliver its verdict by May 24.

TOP BRANDS

AB InBev said in a statement that the disposal includes a number of top brands in their markets, such as Pilsner Urquell in the Czech Republic and Dreher in Hungary.

The company said it expects to attract considerable interest from potential buyers.

The sale would be conditional on AB InBev concluding its purchase of SABMiller, expected in the second half of this year.

The proposed divestment could ease regulatory approval, though eastern Europe has not been part of AB InBev’s core business.

After InBev’s 2008 takeover of Anheuser-Busch, the company sold its operations in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and a handful of smaller eastern European countries for US$2.2 billion to CVC Capital Partners. The business, including Staropramen lager, is now owned by Molson Coors.

AB InBev also has operations in Ukraine and Russia.