Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, has sealed a €2.55 billion (£2bn) deal to sell the Peroni and Grolsch lager brands as part of the regulatory trade-offs to achieve its £70bn-plus takeover of SABMiller.
The buyer is Japanese drinks giant Asahi, which first tabled its offer to buy the brands in the UK and Europe – as well as London’s Meantime brewery – in February.
The deal is dependent on the completion of the SABMiller takeover, which is set to go through in the second half of 2016. Asahi’s offer also includes SABMiller’s British, Italian and Dutch operations that make and distribute the brands, as well as the global rights to the Grolsch, Peroni and Meantime brands, except in the United States.
Asahi has said that it hopes yesterday’s deal would help the group expand its growth platform in Europe and “become a global player with a distinct position”.
AB InBev, whose brands include Budweiser and Stella Artois, is seeking regulatory approval for the SABMiller takeover, which unites the world’s largest two brewing companies in the fourth biggest merger in corporate history.
It had already announced the sale of SABMiller’s US joint venture, with partner Molson Coors agreeing to buy the remaining 58 per cent holding in MillerCoors for $12bn.
SABMiller has ploughed money into Peroni, in particuar, in recent years, marketing it across Europe and the US to establish the lager as a global brand, alongside Grolsch.