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Divestment deal: A&O wins mandate as Asahi makes bid for Peroni and Grolsch ahead of mega beer merger

Allen & Overy (A&O) has advised as Japanese beer giant Asahi has made a bid to acquire SABMiller’s well-known European beer brands including Peroni and Grolsch as the European beer giant moves to complete its mega-merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev).

Led by Richard Hough, A&O’s team has been advising Asahi on what will be its largest acquisition to date, worth €2.55bn. The transaction is contingent on the mega-merger going through, upon which Asahi will acquire the two European beer brands, as well as Meantime Brewing Company and Miller Brands.

The London team working on the bid includes corporate partner Hough, employment partner Sarah Henchoz, banking partner Trevor Borthwick, transitional services partner Jim Ford, antitrust partner Alasdair Balfour and tax partner Lydia Challen.

Across the firm’s global network, A&O’s advisers on the deal include Italy partner Paolo Ghiglione, Netherlands partner Tim Stevens, and Japan partner Nick Wall.

SABMiller’s preferred adviser Hogan Lovells confirmed corporate partner Andrew Pearson, who specialises in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions lead a team on the divestment.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partners Bruce Embley and Natascha Doll advised Budweiser owner AB InBev on the divestment deal. The Magic Circle firm is also acting for the company on its proposed merger.

Linklaters and Hogan Lovells has been advising SABMiller on what would be a $275bn merger with AB InBev. The mega-deal raised concerns, as a merger between two of the largest drinks companies in the world would be likely to raise antitrust concerns. However, AB InBev’s divestment of the European beer brands will likely allay some of those issues.