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AB InBev (BUD) Offers to Sell More SABMiller Assets For EU Approval

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) announced Friday that it had offered to sell the Central and Eastern European operations of SABMiller (SBMRY), which could be worth an estimated $8 billion, as it seeks European regulatory approval for company’s $100 billion-plus takeover of its closest rival.

The SABMiller-Anheuser-Busch combination would create an enormous company in the beer industry accounting for about 30% of global beer sales. Anheuser-Busch has entered into a number of agreements to sell a variety of assets from the combined company in order to appease skepticism and regularity concerns about the merger.

Earlier this month, for example, AB InBev accepted an offer by Asahi Group Holdings of Japan to buy the beer brands Grolsch, Meantime, and Peroni, as well as some of SABMiller’s European operations, for € 2.55 billion, or about $2.9 billion.

Anheuser-Busch hopes to close the deal for SABMiller in the second half of this year.

“SABMiller’s Central and Eastern European businesses have been a core part of our growth story since we first embarked on our international expansion strategy over 20 years ago,” Alan Clark, SABMiller’s chief executive, said in a news release.

Mr. Clark added, “We are very proud of these businesses, their brands and the people that have made them the successes they are today, and we will continue to grow and support them throughout this process.”

In November, Anheuser-Busch agreed to sell SABMiller’s 59% stake in MillerCoors in the United States to SABMiller’s partner in a joint venture, Molson Coors Brewing (TAP), for about $12 billion. That deal includes the global rights to the Miller brand and would make Molson Coors the second-largest brewer in the United States, behind Anheuser-Busch.

According to a report via Reuters, the European Commission, the European Union's antitrust regulator, is set to deliver its verdict on the SABMiller takeover by May 24. “If the Commission chose to open an in-depth investigation into the SAB deal, it would not receive clearance for up to 90 working days, a delay AB InBev may be keen to avoid.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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