April 3, 2012 / 12:27 PM / in 6 years

Molson Coors to buy StarBev for $3.5 billion

(Reuters) - Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP.N) said it will buy brewer StarBev from private equity fund CVC Capital Partners CVC.UL for 2.65 billion euros ($3.52 billion) to expand in central and eastern European beer markets.

Cans of Molson beer are seen on a production line during a news conference in Montreal, March 19, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

“The acquisition of StarBev fits squarely into Molson Coors’ strategy to increase our portfolio of premium brands and deepen our reach into growth markets around the world,” Molson Coors’ Chief Executive Peter Swinburn said in a statement.

StarBev, which owns Czech lager Staropramen, will be run as a separate business unit within Molson Coors after the deal closes.

Molson Coors, whose business is concentrated in the mature markets of Canada, Britain and the United States, expects the deal to add to its earnings in the first full year of operations.

CVC, which bought StarBev in 2009, put the business up for sale after approaches from a number of brewers. Media reports had speculated that the approaches could have come from Japanese brewer Asahi (2502.T), Carlsberg (CARLb.CO), SABMiller SAB.L and Heineken (HEIN.AS).

Molson Coors, which brews Molson Canadian, Carling and Coors Light beers, was advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. Nomura International was the adviser for StarBev.

($1 = 0.7518 euros)

Reporting by Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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