Victoria Bitter

Asahi completes CUB acquisition

June 1, 2020
By Alana House

Asahi Beverages has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries.

The brewer borrowed $16billion last week from Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to complete the purchase.

“Today is huge milestone and one worthy of celebration at Asahi Beverages as we warmly welcome Carlton & United Breweries colleagues to our family,” the company said. “Welcome CUB – and a big ‘cheers’ or ‘kanpai’ to all!”

CUB noted: “It’s the next chapter in CUB’s fabled history that commenced more than 150 years ago. In that time we’ve created and sustained some of Australia’s most iconic and loved beers. Creating great friendships and great memories.

“We’re looking forward to continue brewing and creating more great CUB beers for beer lovers. And working closely with all our great partners, including those pubs and clubs that are doing it so tough at present. Cheers for the beers!”

Chairman Peter Margin added: “This is a very exciting time to be part of the Asahi Beverages family as we embark on the next chapter, as the Oceania regional hub for Asahi.

“The acquisition of CUB will mean that we are able to offer customers and consumers an even broader range of great tasting beverages with the addition of some of Australia’s most popular and well-loved beer brands.”

CUB becomes the newest business division of the Asahi Beverages Regional Hub alongside Asahi Premium Beverages, Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Asahi Beverages NZ.

The brewer said CUB will continue to operate in much the same way it has until today.

CUB CEO Peter Filipovic said: “I’m humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to continue to lead Australia’s best beer company as we strive towards our vision of connecting people for a better Australia.

“Our team at CUB is looking forward to working with the team at Asahi Beverages. Together we will have the best portfolio for our consumers and customers. I’m looking forward to learning from Asahi Beverages and the broader Asahi Group.”

Divestment of cider & beer brands

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has put stringent conditions around the sale of CUB, with Asahi required to divest the cider brands Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green, and the Australian distribution rights for international beer brands Stella Artois and Beck’s.

Divestiture will include all relevant inventory, business records, employees, contracts and intellectual property rights.

Strongbow

The cider business and beer business may be sold to a single ACCC-approved purchaser or to separate ACCC-approved purchasers. One of the factors the ACCC may consider in making the decision whether to approve a proposed purchaser is the effectiveness of a proposed purchaser if the beer business and the cider business are not both acquired.

The document states that for a ”period of three years” the brewer will treat divestiture business products as Asahi products, for the purposes of any supply arrangement with an on-premise venue such as a hotel, bar or restaurants, or an off-premise venue such as a liquor retailer.

“Additionally, if a venue wishes to remove Stella Artois from its taps
during the three year period, Asahi will not agree with an on-premise
venue to replace a Stella Artois tap [with another Asahi branded tap]” unless the new owner has been given a reasonable opportunity to replace it with something from their own stable.

The ACCC will also be watching closely for any attempted heaving of venues after the divestments. It has been given the undertaking that the brewer “will not exercise or threaten to exercise any right under any supply arrangement”.

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