AB InBev has accepted Japanese brewer Asahi’s $2.55bn offer for some of SABMiller’s beer brands including Peroni and Grolsch, as it looks to close its £70bn takeover of SABMiller.
The offer, initially submitted in February, has been approved by AB InBev “following completion of the relevant employee information and consultation processes applicable to the sale of these brands and businesses.”
If completed, this will be Asahi’s biggest acquisition and the largest Japanese deal in the beverage industry since Suntory’s $16bn takeover of US spirits maker Beam in 2014.
The deal underscores Japanese companies’ aggressive hunt for growth outside their home market, and the renewed urgency with which they have been moving to nail down prospective targets and avoid missing out on deals like they have in the past.
Examples of this include Japan Tobacco’s $5bn purchase of cigarette assets from US-rival Reynolds and Nikkei’s $1.3bn acquisition of the Financial Times from Pearson.
In this case, Asahi darted in ahead of rivals including Thai Beverage, the maker of Chang beer, and a handful of private equity buyers.
AB InBev said the deal
is conditional on the successful closing of the recommended acquisition of SABMiller by AB InBev as announced on 11 November 2015, which itself contains certain regulatory pre-conditions and conditions, and the approval by the European Commission of Asahi as a purchaser of the Business.