Last Call: Anheuser-Busch InBev Resumes Asia-Pacific IPO Application; Roak Brewing to Acquire Dark Horse

A-B Explores Asia-Pacific IPO

Anheuser-Busch InBev yesterday announced that its Asia Pacific (APAC) subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Limited, has resumed exploration of an application to list a minority stake of the business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The announcement came with the following qualifier, however: “No assurance can be given that this transaction will be completed and the decision to proceed will depend on a number of factors and prevailing market conditions.”

In July, A-B back-burnered the planned initial public offering — expected to be the biggest of 2019, fetching as much as $9.8 billion.

A week after pulling the plug, A-B reached an agreement to offload its Australian subsidiary, Carlton & United Breweries, to Asahi Group Holdings, for $11.3 billion. The proceeds of that transaction, which is expected to close in 2020, are earmarked to pay down its $100 billion debt load incurred through its 2016 MegaBrew merger with SABMiller.

At the time of the deal, A-B InBev said it would consider an IPO if its gets “the right valuation.”

Michigan’s Roak Brewing to Acquire Dark Horse Brewing

Royal Oak, Michigan-based Roak Brewing Company is in the process of acquiring 22-year-old Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall, according to filings with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission obtained by MLive.com.

The transfer of ownership could take up to three months and the MLCC must sign off on the deal.

“Dark Horse is a great brand, but it’s had some challenges,” Roak CEO John Leone told the outlet. “We want to get it back to where it was a few years back.”

The transaction would mark Roak’s second deal in the last 12 months. Last October, the company acquired Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City. At the time, Leone told Brewbound that he was interested in building a platform of small and independent breweries in Michigan capable of competing with larger brewing operations with “significantly more money and resources.”

Production at Dark Horse declined an estimated 20%, to 7,800 barrels, in 2018, according to the Brewers Association. Over the last three years, the company has incurred steep declines, with volume declines of 53% in 2016 and 11% in 2017, after peaking at 23,298 barrels in 2015.

Aaron Morse, who owned Dark Horse, will reportedly remain with the company and retain a stake in the business.

A-B Appeals ‘No Corn Syrup’ Ruling’

Anheuser-Busch is appealing a preliminary injunction granted to MillerCoors that would block the company from selling Bud Light in packages that contain “no corn syrup” language and an icon starting March 2, according to MediaPost.

Federal judge William Conley last week modified an existing partial preliminary injunction awarded to MillerCoors in May, which blocked A-B from displaying certain Bud Light billboards and television ads that he deemed “misleading.”

Reyes Beverage Group Closes on DBI Beverage Acquisition

Reyes Beverage Group subsidiary Harbor Distributing LLC announced today it has closed on the acquisition of DBI Beverage Inc. in Northern California. According to a press release, Harbor will do business in the northern part of the state as Golden Brands.

“DBI Beverage has been a great partner during the transition and we look forward to officially welcoming our new employees to the Reyes organization,” Reyes Beer Division CEO Tom Day said in a press release.

The transaction adds about 26 million cases, 14,000 customer accounts, nearly 1,000 employees and more than 25 suppliers to Reyes’ business.

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