BELGIUM – Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has completed its previously announced sale of its Australian subsidiary, Carlton & United Breweries, to Asahi Group Holdings in a transaction valued at AUD16 billion (~US$11 billion).
As part of this transaction, AB InBev granted Asahi Group Holdings rights to commercialize the portfolio of AB InBev’s global and international brands in Australia.
The beer company said that substantially all of the proceeds from the divestiture of the Australian business will be used to pay down debt.
“Despite the challenging environment, our colleagues working on this transaction showed great dedication and remained focused on delivering to its completion. I would like to thank them and also the CUB team for their continued commitment and resilience,” said Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of AB InBev.
The Budweiser brand owner said that the divestment will further help the company accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally, create additional shareholder value by optimizing its business at an attractive price while further deleveraging its balance sheet and strengthening its position for growth opportunities.
The acquisition will expand Carlton & United Breweries portfolio, which includes Foster’s, Victoria Bitter and Carlton, alongside craft brands 4 Pines and Pirate Life. In September last year Carlton also acquired Australian wine company Riot Wine Co.
The deal marked Carlton & United Breweries’ entry into the wine category, expanding outside its key beer portfolio which includes Foster’s and Victoria Bitter and craft acquisitions Pirate Life and Four Pines.
Carlton said it planned to invest further into the Riot business, by helping the company upgrade its cellar door and a new canning line in the inner western Adelaide suburb of Brompton, creating a revamped hospitality space with food and wine.
Carlton & United is one of the two big players in Australia’s beer industry, alongside Kirin-owned Lion. Along with Coopers, these three companies account for nearly 80% of sales volume in the country.