AB InBev sells Australian unit to Asahi for $11.3b, keeps Asia IPO options open

Bottles of beer move along a conveyor belt at the Anheuser-Busch InBev NV Budweiser bottling facility in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

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.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.