Asahi mulls acquiring more of SABMiller’s brands

Asahi Group Holdings, Japan’s largest brewer which bid and eventually bought some of SABMiller’s European brands (Peroni, Grolsch and London’s Meantime) on sale from AB InBev in February may yet be itching to buy more of SABMiller’s remaining brands in eastern Europe.

According to a report in the Sunday Times of London, the Japanese brewer is mulling a $7.3bn bid for SABMiller’s central and eastern European assets, including Pilsner Urquell.

However Asahi said on Monday it is not considering the acquisition of SABMiller’s eastern European assets, and added that it wants to focus on integrating assets recently acquired from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Asahi purchased Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime from AB InBev in a €2.55bn ($2.9bn) deal earlier in April as part of efforts by the brewer to diversify and find growth away from its Japanese home market where growth has been hampered by a shrinking population.

AB InBev is mandated by the European anti-trust regulatory commission to sell SABMiller’s central and eastern European assets within six months of closing its acquisition of SABMiller to avoid running foul of the commission’s competition rules.

Neither AB InBev nor SABMiller would agree to comment on this story.

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