Australian beermaker Carlton & United Breweries — maker of beers including Carlton Draught, VB and Great Northern — is now under foreign ownership, having been sold to Japan-based Asahi Group Holdings in a deal worth $16 billion.
The deal was announced by Asahi to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, in which it revealed the multinational would purchase the iconic brand on a “cash-free and debt-free enterprise value basis”.
Melbourne-headquartered Carlton & United Breweries is the trading name, with Anheuser-Busch InBev the operating company.
Asahi first announced the acquisition on 19 July, while a statement was subsequently issued in Australia late on 29 July by law firm Gilbert + Tobin, which advised the Aussie beermaker on the takeover.
“We are pleased to be advising our client Anheuser-Busch InBev on this significant transaction. G+T’s involvement has been multi-faceted, and we are grateful to be working on this dynamic transaction, which is one of the largest Australian M&A deals this year,” said Neil Pathak, head of the firm’s corporate advisory/mergers and acquisitions division.
According to Asahi, Australia is “an attractive market enjoying sustainable economic growth”.
“Asahi already participates in the Australian beer and cider categories (with global premium brands such as Asahi Super Dry, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell) and the non-alcoholic beverage category, having undertaken several soft drinks acquisitions since 2009,” it said.
“Moreover, we expect to acquire the broad distribution network of CUB as well as benefitting from the advantage of greater scale in areas such as procurement by collaborating with Asahi’s existing Australian business which is of comparable size to CUB.”
Asahi said that Carlton & United’s brands are “much loved” in the Australian marketplace, and said the business “is highly profitable, leveraging its broad brand portfolio and operational excellence across Australia”.
The deal comes in the same month that Craveable Brands — owner of other iconic Australian brands Red Rooster and Oporto — had been sold to a Hong Kong-headquartered private equity firm.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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