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[TOKYO] Japan's Asahi Group Holdings Ltd has agreed to buy five eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev for about 900 billion yen (S$11.2 billion) in a deal to be announced as early as Tuesday, the Nikkei business daily said.
Anheuser-Busch InBev had agreed to sell the brands, which include the Czech market leader Pilsner Urquell, Poland's Tyskie and Lech and Hungary's Dreher, to help get clearance from competition regulators for its US$100 billion takeover of SABMiller.
Asahi declined to comment.
The deal would be Asahi's biggest acquisition and its latest purchase in Europe, where it has already bought SABMiller's Western European brands Peroni and Grolsch. A source had told Reuters Asahi was a favourite to buy the Eastern European brands given its existing global distribution channels.
The package had been expected to fetch around US$6.4 billion, sources told Reuters earlier this month.
Asahi shares fell as much as 6.4 per cent after the report.
The Asian brewer wants to offset slow growth in its home market and can justify paying a higher price for overseas acquisitions based on the cost benefits it would extract and the ability to use the brands to boost its international sales.
Asahi's latest purchase would be the biggest ever acquisition of a foreign beer operation by a Japanese brewer and the biggest acquisition by a Japanese brewer since Suntory Holdings Ltd bought Beam for nearly US$14 billion in January 2014.