AB InBev shortlists Asahi, ThaiBev for Peroni, Grolsch purchase: sources
By Pamela Barbaglia and Saeed Azhar
LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japan's Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T: Quote) and Thai Beverage (TBEV.SI: Quote) have made it through to the final stages of an auction to buy SABMiller's SAB.L Peroni and Grolsch beer brands, several sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. Private equity firms PAI Partners and Bain Capital have also moved to the next round of bidding, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
European buyout fund EQT emerged as the fifth bidder to be shortlisted by the seller, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote), two of the sources said.
Peroni and Grolsch are valued at more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), but the two Asian brewers could offer up to 3 billion euros to snap up the assets, one of the sources said.
The sale, which the sources said AB InBev (ABI.BR: Quote) wants to wrap up by the beginning of March, is aimed at easing anti-trust approval for AB InBev's $100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller.
The Belgian brewer faces paying SABMiller a $3 billion break-up fee if the deal fails.
Binding offers are expected in mid February, the sources said, with one adding that some of the parties have been given a chance to sweeten their offers by a deadline of next week.
Reuters reported on Jan. 15 that Spain's Damm and buyout funds KKR and BC Partners had submitted non-binding bids for the brands.
AB InBev, SABMiller, Asahi, ThaiBev, PAI, Bain Capital and EQT declined to comment. Continued...