Heineken to acquire Asahi’s sell-off brands

28 October, 2020 by Andy Young

Heineken has agreed a deal with Asahi Beverages to acquire the five brands the Japanese brewer needed to offload as part of its deal to buy Carlton & United Breweries.

In reviewing Asahi’s bid to buy CUB, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would not oppose the $16bn acquisition if Asahi divested two of its beer and three of its cider brands.

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Heineken will now take ownership of Strongbow, Little Green and Bonamy’s, plus Stella Artois and Beck’s, subject to regulatory approval.

In a statement, Asahi said: “The acquisition of these brands by Heineken will fulfill Asahi Beverages’ obligations under the ACCC’s approval of our acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries.

“The deal remains subject to regulatory approval, which is expected in Q4 2020.”

The deal sees Strongbow reunited with its owner outside of Australia and New Zealand, with Heineken owing the brand in the rest of the world.

Jacco van der Linden, President of Heineken APAC said, “We are thrilled to bring the Strongbow brand in Australia home to Heineken and scale up our beer and cider portfolio in one of the world’s leading beer and cider markets.

“This acquisition shows that Heineken remains active in pursuing growth where we see opportunities that align with our long-term strategy.”

The five brands will see the five brands distributed in Australia by Drinkworks, the Australian sales and marketing arm of DB Breweries Limited (DB), Heineken’s wholly-owned Australasian subsidiary.

Drinkworks distributes a range of Heineken and DB beers and ciders in Australia, including Tiger, Sol, Monteith’s Beer and Cider and Orchard Thieves Cider.

Peter Simons, Managing Director at DB said: “We are delighted to add the Strongbow brand, as well as Stella Artois, Becks, Little Green and Bonamy’s, to Drinkworks’ existing premium beer and cider portolio.

“The addition of these brands will enable Drinkworks to further scale up and grow our operations in Australia, which is a very important market for us and one in which we expect future growth, particularly in the premium segment.”

In its statement Asahi said that there will be no manufacturing job losses nor brewery closures associated with this deal.