Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. offered to buy SABMiller Plc’s Peroni and Grolsch beer brands for 2.55 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in the Japanese brewer’s biggest-ever acquisition as it seeks to grow sales outside a stagnating domestic market.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV has entered exclusive talks with Asahi to sell the SABMiller businesses in Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. related to those brands plus British craft brewer Meantime, Asahi said in a statement Wednesday. The purchase would be the largest involving a Japanese-listed beermaker since Kirin Holdings Co.’s $2.5 billion acquisition of Australia’s Lion Nathan Pty in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. with Asahi.
The deal would give Asahi a foothold in the European market where it currently has no exposure, joining other companies in the North Asian country seeking foreign acquisitionsto reduce their dependence on a domestic market that’s been hampered by a shrinking population. Asahi’s incoming President Akiyoshi Koji said Tuesday that his ambition is to make the company a global player and expand it beyond Asia.