• Asahi to pay $7.7B for AB InBev’s East European beer business

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    TOKYO: Asahi Group said Tuesday it will pay about $7.7 billion for AB InBev’s beer assets in five Eastern European countries, as the Japanese brewer expands its presence in Europe.

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    The purchase—Asahi’s biggest overseas acquisition—includes popular Czech beer Pilsner Urquell and other businesses in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

    In April, Super Dry-maker Asahi said it would buy the Peroni and Grolsch brands from the world’s top brewer AB InBev, clearing the way for the Belgian company’s monster $121 billion takeover of Britain’s SABMiller.

    The European businesses that Asahi announced it was buying were formerly owned by SABMiller before it became part of AB InBev.

    As part of that merger deal, European regulators had demanded AB InBev sell the Peroni and Grolsch brands, and divest SABMiller’s Eastern European business.

    “The target business is highly compatible with our existing business in western Europe and will strengthen our business platform, allowing Asahi to grow sustainably across Europe,” Asahi said in a statement.

    Investors, however, dumped Asahi’s Tokyo-listed shares on a report on the acquisition earlier Tuesday from Japan’s leading Nikkei business daily.

    The Nikkei said Asahi would pay roughly $7.7 billion for the units, about twice as much as it had said in an earlier report back in October.

    The stock dived 4.60 percent to end the day at 3,497 yen before the deal was officially confirmed.

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