Asahi Group Holdings has announced it will borrow $16billion from Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to complete its purchase of Carlton & United Breweries.
AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, agreed to sell CUB in July last year. Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board approved the acquisition in early May.
However, Asahi will need to divest its cider business and two beer brands to satisfy ACCC requirements.
The Australian suggested last week that local private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners is thought to be in the mix as a potential buyer.
Approaches have already been made by interested parties for the assets, say sources. The parties include local brewers as well as international groups and private equity.
Regardless of the buyer, CUB will become a division of Asahi next month.
Chairman Peter Margin noted: “Both parties will move to complete this acquisition on June 1, with CUB joining the Asahi Beverages family on that day.”
CUB will become a business division of the Asahi Beverages Regional Hub within Oceania.
The bulk of the proceeds from the sale of CUB is expected to be used to pay down AB InBev debt, which topped $US95 billion at the end of 2019, following its acquisition of rival SABMiller two years earlier.
The Japanese brewer said it had signed an agreement with Sumitomo for the loan and would refinance the borrowing by raising debt and 300 billion yen of “equity credit attributes”.