AB InBev Explores $1.2 Billion Sale of German Beer Brands
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is exploring a sale of some of its German beer brands as it focuses on growth away from the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage, according to people familiar with the matter.
The portfolio of regional brands could be valued at about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The world’s largest brewer is working with an adviser as it explores options, they said. Discussions are ongoing and there’s no certainty that AB InBev will decide to proceed with a sale of the German brands, according to the people. “We continuously assess our options to optimize our business and drive growth,” a spokesperson for Belgium-based AB InBev said in an emailed statement. AB InBev employs more than 2,000 people in Germany, where it brews beers including Franziskaner Weissbier, Hasseroeder and Spaten. Its brewery in Bremen, where it makes the iconic Beck’s brand, is the largest in the country.
Many of the brands were inherited from Interbrew, which merged with Brazilian beermaker Ambev in 2004 to form InBev — the company that later combined with Anheuser-Busch. While Germany is Europe’s largest brewer, producing about a quarter of beers originating from the continent, it exports less of the drink than both the Netherlands and Belgium, according to European Commission figures. Under new Chief Executive Officer Michel Doukeris, who took charge in July, AB InBev is looking beyond beer for future growth. A 25-year company veteran, Doukeris is eyeing opportunities in markets such as hard seltzers and canned cocktails. Doukeris’s strategy builds on his predecessor Carlos Brito’s initiatives to diversify, while keeping its brewing operations fresh, as with the rollout of the popular low-calorie Michelob Ultra lager.