Asahi offers to buy Peroni and Grolsch, key for AB InBev-SABMiller deal

Asahi Group Holdings has offered 2.55 billion euros (S$4 billion) for the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands held by SABMiller.
Asahi Group Holdings has offered 2.55 billion euros (S$4 billion) for the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands held by SABMiller.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The world's top brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said Wednesday it had received an offer from Japan's Asahi for the Peroni and Grolsch beer brands it has pledged to sell as part of its tie-up with SABMiller.

Asahi Group Holdings has offered €2.55 billion (S$4 billion) for the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands held by SABMiller, AB InBev said in a statement.

AB InBev said in December it wanted to sell the Italian, Dutch and British brands in order to ease competition concerns and win approval from regulators.

AB Inbev announced in November it had agreed to take over British rival SABMiller for US$121 billion (S$169 billion), the third-largest acquisition in history, that would make it a juggernaut brewing three times as much beer as its nearest rival.

Japan's leading Nikkei business daily had reported earlier Asahi had offered US$3.5 billion for the brands which have a long history in Asia-Pacific.

The acquisitions would allow Asahi to broaden its overseas strategy, the report said, as overseas sales only account for about 10 per cent of Asahi's total sales.

If the deal goes through, it would be be biggest ever by a Japanese brewer, the daily said.

AB Inbev said the sale would go through only if its merger with SABMiller is completed.