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AB InBev Buys Korea's Biggest Brewery For $5.8bn

Published on Jan 22 2014 8:41 AM in Drinks

AB InBev Buys Korea's Biggest Brewery For $5.8bn

Two private equity firms said this week they would sell South Korean beverage giant Oriental Brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev for $5.8 billion.

The company is owned by the Asian Nation's biggest brewer KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners. It was first purchased by KKR from AB In-Bev for $1.8 billion in 2009, a year after Belgium's In-Bev purchased the American brewer Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. 

Later, KKR sold half of Oriental Brewery, which makes Cass Beer, to Affinity Partners.

The Wall Street Journal reported the $5.8 billion sale is the largest ever exit from a company by a private equity firm in Asia.

The world's biggest beermaker, AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, will fund the acquisition with internal resources, according to a statement on Monday. The Korean company will receive about $320 million in cash when the transaction is completed.

Korea's beer market has grown about 2% a year from 2009 through 2012, the companies said. AB InBev plans to further develop Cass as well as throw its marketing support behind brands including Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden.

Oriental Brewery's market share in South Korea is about 60%, up from about 40% in 2009.

AB InBev, created in the brewery world's biggest merger, has grown to be the largest beermaker through a series of acquisitions, including taking control of Mexico's Grupo Modelo for $20.1 billion, a deal completed last year.

© 2014 - European Supermarket Magazine by Enda Dowling

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