AB InBev seeks quick sales for Peroni and Grolsch: sources

Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:30pm EST
 
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By Pamela Barbaglia and Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote), which has agreed to buy rival brewer SABMiller SAB.L, plans to contact potential bidders for SABMiller's Grolsch and Peroni beers on Friday and wrap up deals in less than three months, sources close to the process said.

The sales, which could together be worth up to 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion), are aimed at heading off competition regulators' concerns about AB InBev's $100 billion-plus takeover of SABMIller, one of the biggest deals in corporate history.

Peroni and Grolsch are small, premium brands. Sources said AB InBev was keen to avoid getting bogged down in any regulatory scrutiny over a European portfolio that already includes its premium brands Corona and Stella Artois.

Peroni and Grolsch together generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 120-150 million euros, and could be valued at a multiple of around 12 times their EBITDA, the sources said.

AB InBev's financial advisers, Lazard (LAZ.N: Quote) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote), will give interested parties preliminary information on Friday, according to the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.

Indicative offers will be due in mid-January, with a tight schedule for due diligence aimed at clinching a deal by early March, the sources said.

The deadline favours private equity firms over trade buyers and shows AB InBev is valuing time over money, sources said. Because financial buyers don't have to assess a deal's impact on their current operations, they can pull the trigger more quickly, but won't bid as much since they lack synergies.

"Hitting early timing on this deal is more important than maximizing the value," one of the sources said.   Continued...

 
The logo of Anheuser-Busch InBev is pictured outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven, November 10, 2015.   REUTERS/Eric Vidal