Asahi Group Holdings has struck a deal to acquire five eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev, including Pilsner Urquell. The €7.3 billion ($7.8 billion) purchase is the largest ever made by a Japanese brewing company. A-B InBev is selling the brands to allay the concerns of European competition regulators after it completed its merger with SABMiller.
The sale includes Czech brewer Plzensky Prazdroy, which brews Pilsner Urquell, and Polish beer brands e Tyskie and Lech. The brands will give more international heft to Japan’s Asahi, which is one of the top beer makers in its home market but only a small player globally.
Asahi spent much more than initially expected – the price driven up from an an anticipated $3 billion to $4 billion by other bidders. Asahi previously bought Peroni and Grolsch from SABMiller, as the company made divestitures to get regulatory clearance for its sale to A-B InBev.