AB InBev has agreed to divest Carlton and United Breweries (CUB), its Australian subsidiary, to Asahi Group Holdings for $AU16billion.
As part of this transaction, AB InBev will grant Asahi Group Holdings the rights to commercialise the portfolio of AB InBev’s global and international brands in Australia.
AB InBev noted in a statement that the divestiture of CUB, once completed, would help it accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally.
“It will also allow the company to create additional shareholder value by optimising its business at an attractive price while further deleveraging its balance sheet and strengthening its position for growth opportunities,” the statement said.
“In addition, AB InBev continues to believe in the strategic rationale of a potential offering of a minority stake of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Limited (Budweiser APAC), excluding Australia, provided that it can be completed at the right valuation.”
CEO of AB InBev Carlos Brito added: “We continue to see great potential for our business in APAC and the region remains a growth engine within our company. With our unparalleled portfolio of brands, strong commercial plans and talented people, we are uniquely positioned to capture opportunities for growth across the APAC region.”
Substantially all of the proceeds from the divestiture of the Australian business will be used by the company to pay down debt.
Asahi Group Holdings has committed financing in place for Carlton and United and the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including but not limited to regulatory approvals in Australia. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020.