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CVC Talks on Bulgaria Kamenitza, AB InBev Breweries Sale Come to Head

Date: 16.10.2009

Talks about the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, which owns two units in Bulgaria, by CVC Capital Partners, a London-based private equity group, are entering a critical phase, reports say.

Buyout firm CVC's talks about its acquisition of part of drinks group AB InBev are expected to reach a resolution before the end of the month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two sources close to the situation.

CVC and AB InBev, which brews Budweiser, Becks and Stella Artois, are expected to agree the terms of the buyout firm's EUR1.4 B acquisition of the company's Central and Eastern European assets in the next two to three weeks.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, the US private equity groups, had expressed interest in the assets, which include 11 breweries in seven countries, including Bulgaria.

But only CVC submitted a bid, worth about EUR 1 B - EUR 1.5 B.

Bulgaria is one of seven countries in Eastern and Central Europe, where the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR) is considering divesting its operations.

Eleven breweries producing a total of 15 million hectoliters of beer a year in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, are part of what has been called a "packaged" deal to be sold as a whole.

Kamenitza AD, part of Interbrew, which was renamed to InBev after the merger of Interbrew and AmBev, is the second biggest brewery in Bulgaria.

Its diverse brand portfolio includes international Stella Artois and Becks and local Kamenitza, AstikA, Burgasko , Pleven, Slavena.

AB InBev was created by the merger of Belgium's InBev and the iconic American brewer Anheuser Busch last fall. The combined entity now has a market capitalization of EUR 44.6 B, according to the company's Web site.

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