Peroni and Grolsch are on the selling block.
Photograph by Simon Dawson — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Lucinda Shen
April 19, 2016

To ease regulatory concerns regarding its mega-merger with SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch InBev (bud), has reached a deal to sell off three brands to Japanese brewer, Asahi Group, for $2.9 billion.

On Tuesday, Asahi revealed that it would buy SAB’s Peroni, Meantime, and Grolsch brands. Asahi also agreed to purchase other parts of SABMiller’s European operations—pending the completion of the deal between SABMiller and AB InBev.

The sale comes as AB InBev seeks to allay antitrust concerns associated with its $100 billion-plus plan to acquire U.K.-based SABMiller—the largest deal of 2015 (after an attempted Pfizer-Allergan link-up fell apart). The combination of the world’s two largest brewers would control about 30% of global sales—which has been a source of concern for regulators.

Those concerns are one of the final obstacles for AB InBev before it can fully acquire SABMiller. The deal is expected to be completed by the tail end of 2016.

The divestiture of Peroni and Grolsch, a plan first reported in December, would allow AB InBev to potentially avoid a lengthy antitrust probe with European Union regulators. E.U. officials will vote on approving the deal or opening up a lengthy investigation by May 24.

 

AB InBev, which seems to have been seeking a large merger for a while now, has also been seeking quick regulatory approval in other countries with plans to sell off overlapping brands. The brewer has been actively divesting stakes in certain countries.

AB InBev agreed in November to sell off SABMiller’s 59% stake in MillerCoors to Molson Coors Brewing for $12 billion (tap-a), and also divested of SABMiller’s 49% stake in Chinese beer maker, CR Snow for about $1.6 billion.

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