Heineken’s challenge is to keep glass half full

August 1, 2016

The Dutch brewer's operating profit was strong, thanks to stellar Asian growth. But first-half revenue fell short of expectations. Headaches in Africa show that its reliance on emerging markets comes with a snakebite of currency, macroeconomic and geopolitical hazards.

AB InBev adds dash of cynicism to raised SAB offer

July 26, 2016

A raised 79 bln pound offer for SABMiller should give agitating hedge funds a dignified exit. But it mostly ignores the fall in the value of the Budweiser brewer's offer - and makes a share-based alternative offer targeted at SAB’s biggest shareholders slightly more attractive.

AB InBev opts for speed in discount Chinese sale

March 2, 2016

The brewer is selling SABMiller’s share of a joint venture that makes China’s top beer brand for just 5.2 times EBITDA. The $1.6 bln deal makes it easier for Beijing to approve AB InBev’s takeover of SAB. Besides, the Belgian group had little prospect of ever controlling Snow.

Anheuser rolls Asahi on middling beer brands

February 10, 2016

Though the $2.9 bln price tag is a bit lower than expected, the Japanese brewer’s acquisition of Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime from Mega-Beer clocks in at some 25 times probable EBIT. It’s only justifiable under the demographic logic of the buyer’s shrinking home country.

Grolsch could leave bitter taste at Asahi

January 13, 2016

Japan’s top brewer is eyeing beers left over from ABI’s takeover of SABMiller. A mooted $3.4 bln tab for Peroni and Grolsch sounds frothy, especially with limited potential to cut costs. Asahi looks desperate for overseas growth, even at the expense of shareholder value.

SAB’s dregs might wet a private buyer’s whistle

December 16, 2015

Spinning off Peroni and Grolsch could raise $1.2 bln for the UK brewer’s new owner AB InBev and ease antitrust approval. Rivals like Carlsberg or Asahi have little to gain from SAB’s cast-offs. A buyout firm or acquisitive family investor, though, could spy a double-digit return.

Diageo drinks to Silicon Valley-style disruption

December 3, 2015

As AB InBev brews mega-beer, the $74 bln distiller of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff wants for potent takeover targets. Instead of waiting for big brands like Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi, Diageo is seeding booze entrepreneurs who are building new ones. Doing so quietly is the twist.

AB InBev’s SABMiller deal losing big-brand fizz

November 30, 2015

The Budweiser brewer may sell SAB’s Peroni and Grolsch labels to speed antitrust clearances, reports say. The Molson venture in the U.S. has already gone and China may demand disposals. AB InBev will retain some gems, but the SABMiller empire could soon be unrecognizable.

Deal cracks open fizzy finance of craft brewing

By Rob Cox
November 16, 2015

Constellation Brands is buying San Diego’s Ballast Point, maker of Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, for $1 bln. Though small beer next to AB InBev’s M&A, it offers one of the first glimpses into exactly what established brewers will pay to acquire coolness. The figures are sobering.

AB InBev turns bulge-bracket loan arranger

November 11, 2015

The beer giant unusually organized its own record $75 bln loan package to help buy SABMiller. In 2014, that would have earned a top 20 slot in global lending league tables. More practically, it burnishes AB InBev’s cost-cutting credentials by saving up to $300 mln in fees.