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Drinks

Diageo May Consider Selling Guinness: Reports

Drinks giant Diageo could sell off its iconic Guinness brand, along with its other beer brands, in a potential €10 billion offload, according to Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper.

Diageo, which also owns Smitchwick's ale, as well as a number of beer brands worldwide, is said to be mulling the sale of its beer brands to another major drinks group, with Heineken and AB InBev being suggested as a possible suitors.

The possible sale, the paper reported, could be the latest major shakeup in the drinks industry after AB InBev's €92 billion takeover of SABMiller just this month.

Although Diageo has not made a statement on the speculation, Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling said that the beer and spirits ends of the business may be clashing and, since Diageo make most of its money through spirits, it may consider selling the beer brands.

"Every asset has its price if there is a purchaser willing to pay a premium to fair value for the assets, including the tax benefits, which we estimate could be worth up to €10 billion," said Stirling.

Beer sales for Diageo have stayed mostly stagnant over the last year, which chief executive Ivan Menezes has blamed on weak global conditions, especially in emerging markets.

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