Asahi Group to Purchase Pilsner Urquell and Other Beer Brands for $7.8 Billion

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Tokyo-based Asahi Group Holdings has agreed to a $7.8 billion deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev to purchase European beer brands formerly owned by SABMiller, including Pilsner Urquell, Tyskie and Lech.

A-B, which divested the brands to satisfy regulators as part of it successful $100 billion MegaBrew acquisition of SABMiller, announced the transaction on its website today.

“Anheuser-Busch InBev is pleased to announce that it has entered into a binding agreement with Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. to sell the businesses formerly owned by SABMiller Limited in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania for an agreed enterprise value of EUR 7.3 billion, subject to customary adjustments,” the statement read.

In a press release, Asahi stated it would use its “overseas business as its growth engine.”

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017 and is subject to approvals from the European Commission.

The Japanese brewers have long been seen as the frontrunners in A-B InBev’s sell off of SABMiller’s Central and Eastern European assets.

The $7.8 billion price tag was double what the assets were expected to fetch.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Asahi had budgeted about $4 billion for acquisitions but had to up its bid to top offers from PPF Group in the Czech Republic, China Resources and Zurich-based Jacobs Holding AG. (Last week, Bain Capital dropped out of the bidding war for the brands.)

The move is another global play for Asahi, which had acquired Italian brand Peroni and Dutch beer maker Grolsch from SABMiller in October 2016 for $2.84 billion, in an attempt to strengthen its business outside of its struggling home market.

The next move for Asahi may also be a bid for Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation in Vietnam, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The state-owned brewery is on the block and could be sold for $1.8 billion, according to the outlet.

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