Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings has offered 400 billion yen ($3.5 billion) for the Dutch brand Grolsch and Italian brewer Peroni, both of which are owned by SABMiller, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Wednesday, without citing sources. If successful, the deal would be the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese beer company.
According to the Japanese daily, Asahi board members finalized the $3.5 billion proposal Tuesday, and a decision on the offer is expected later this week.
In November, the Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it would acquire its British rival SABMiller for $108 billion. The deal, which would create a brewing behemoth controlling approximately 30 percent of the world’s beer market, has raised the eyebrows of antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
Peroni and Grolsch are small, premium brands and AB InBev wants to sell them off to avoid getting bogged down in a regulatory quagmire in Europe. The company’s European portfolio also includes Corona and Stella Artois.
Since AB InBev announced its decision to sell the two brands, several other Asian breweries, including Thai Beverage — Thailand’s largest brewing company — have been weighing bids, Nikkei reported.
Asahi is Japan’s biggest brewer with 38 percent market share. In recent years, the company, known for its Super Dry beer, is looking to access growth outside Japan in order to offset a drop in domestic sales caused by a slowing economy. Currently, overseas sales account for only 10 percent of Asahi’s total sales.
On Wednesday, shares of Asahi, which reported a slight drop in growth of net income and sales in the fiscal year 2015, closed down 8 percent, reflecting an ongoing turmoil in Japan that has seen the benchmark Nikkei 225 index fall 7.7 percent over the past two days.