Anheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to sell its Australian operations to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. for an enterprise value of A$16 billion ($11.3 billion), and the Belgian company said it’s still considering reviving an initial public offering of its Asian subsidiary.
The sale to Tokyo-based Asahi is expected to conclude by the first quarter of 2020, according to a statement Friday. Carlton & United, whose brands include Foster’s and Victoria Bitter, accounts for almost half the beer market in Australia.
The deal gives Asahi a major presence in Australia and furthers its strategy to build its global presence. It also represents a major shift in AB InBev’s position in Asia. The company last week pulled a planned IPO of its regional operations that aimed to raise as much as $9.8 billion, with proceeds used to pay down part of the company’s colossal borrowings. The deal with Asahi will help reduce debt.
AB InBev also said an IPO of Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC would still be strategic, provided it would be done at the right valuation.
Asahi has rapidly expanded its overseas presence in recent years, trying to build its flagship Super Dry beer into a global premium beer alongside the likes of Heineken NV as its domestic beer market languishes.