Mega-Beer Merger Clears Hurdle: SABMiller Sells Chinese Beer Brand For Bargain Price

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

The $107 billion merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller is a truly global affair, with the betrothed companies having to appease regulators on multiple continents. While the mega-deal still faces numerous challenges, it has cleared one huge hurdle with SABMiller agreeing to sell its half of China’s largest brewer for only $1.6 billion.

CR Snow, maker of one of the world’s bestselling beer brands, has been a joint venture of SABMiller and China Resources. Reuters reports that Miller has agreed to sell its 49% stake in the company to its partner, giving China Resources full control of Snow.

The selling price of $1.6 billion, however, is far below original estimates, with analysts saying they had expected a price tag of $3 billion to $5 billion before the deal was finalized.

“We think that the 49 percent stake could have attracted a higher price if offered to other brewers on the open market, but assume that ABI’s negotiations with the Chinese regulators … ended up precluding this course of action,” Canaccord Genuity analysts, who had valued the stake at around $5 billion, tell Reuters.

Wednesday’s deal is just the latest as the mega-beer merger tries to pave the way for regulatory approval. The betrothed companies previously reached a deal to sell SABMiller’s stake in the Miller/Coors brand to Molson Coors for $12 billion. AB InBev also agreed to sell its Peroni and Grolsch brand to Japan’s Asahi Group Holding for $2.87 billion.

China Resources to buy SABMiller’s Snow stake, easing AB InBev deal [Reuters]