Japan’s Asahi to bid for SABMiller’s European beers once Megabrew deal closes next week

Japanese drinks giant Asahi is brewing a more than 500bn yen (£3.8bn) offer for SABMiller’s Eastern and Central European beers, according to reports.

Local newspaper Nikkei said yesterday Asahi is interested in SABMiller’s beer businesses in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, which include beer brands such as Pilsner Urquell and Lech.

It is thought bidding will begin next week when Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) formally acquires the British drinks group, although the Belgian brewing giant first told the European Commission it would sell the brands in April.

AB InBev is buying SABMiller in a £79bn takeover, dubbed “Megabrew”. The merger is expected to complete next week.

To satisfy European antitrust authorities, former SABMiller brands Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime were sold to Asahi in April for £1.8bn.

SABMiller had only owned the Camden-based brewer Meantime for just over six months before it was put up for sale.

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