Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP), a North American brewer that owns popular brands like Coors and Molson Canadian, said Tuesday it struck a deal to buy StarBev LP, a leading eastern European brewer, to boost its share of a fast-growing market.
Molson Coors, which has a market capitalization over $8 billion, will pay €2.65 billion ($3.54 billion) for the company, headquartered in Amsterdam and Prague.
The price represents about 11 times StarBev’s 2011 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which was €241 million. Its 2011 revenues were approximately €700 million.
Currently owned by private equity firm CVC Capital partners, the eastern European brewer sells in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia and has a top three market share position in each of these countries.
“The central and eastern European beer market is attractive, with strong historical trends and upside potential as the region returns to its pre-economic crisis growth rates,” Peter Swinburn, CEO of Molson Coors, said in a statement.
After the acquisition is completed Molson Coors, which is headquartered in Denver and Montreal, expects “significantly more” of its revenues to come from growth and emerging markets.
Swinburn thinks Molson Coors can expand some of its key brands, such as Carling, into the eastern European market. Similarly, Staropramen, StarBev’s international flagship brand, could be strengthened in some of Molson Coors’ current markets.
Moreover, the Molson-StarBev combination could generate $50 million of pre-tax operational synergies by 2015, according to the North American company.
The deal, still subject to approval by European authorities, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, after which StarBev will operate as a separate business unit within Molson Coors.
Shares of Molson Coors fell $1.74, or 3.8 percent, to $43.92 in midday trading.