Anheuser-Busch InBev buys South Korea’s Oriental Brewery for $5.8B from KKR, Affinity

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Brussels, Belgium (4E) – Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, announced on Monday that it has agreed to purchase South Korea’s Oriental Brewery for $5.8bn from investment funds KKR and Affinity Equity Partners.

Oriental Brewery’s market share has climbed from 40 percent to 60 percent of the South Korean beer market during the five-year ownership of KKR, despite stiff taxes, price controls and heavy regulation at home.

AB InBev chief executive officer Carlos Brito said that the company is excited to make an investment in South Korea and to work again with Oriental Brewery, which will help strengthen AB InBev’s position in Asia Pacific and will become a major contributor in that region.

KKR, which acquired Oriental Brewery in 2009 from AB InBev for $1.8bn including debt, is expected to turn a fivefold return on its investment.

AB InBev also completed a merger last year with Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo for $20.1bn, adding the Corona brand to its portfolio that include iconic brands like Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s.

The company posted a 24 percent rise in net profit to $7.24bn for the full-year 2012 on sales of nearly $40bn.

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