SABMiller eyes $9,5bn Africa Castel beer buy

Global brewer SABMiller is in talks to buy the African beer operations of the privately-held French drinks group Castel in a deal worth £6-billion, the Times of London said on Thursday.

The newspaper said founder Paul Castel’s reduced involvement in the company signals that the next generation may be open to offers, but added that until recently there had been no indication that the family might sell.

SABMiller is the world’s second largest brewer after AB InBev and brews Peroni, Miller Lite and Grolsch.

SABMiller and Castel were not immediately reachable for comment.

As recently as August, SABMiller was speculated to be looking at the beer operations of Australia’s Foster’s Group which is valued at more than $10-billion.

In Africa, SABMiller has brewing and beverage operations in 14 countries, and a presence in a further 19 nations, largely in West Africa, through a strategic alliance with Castel.

The global brewing industry has seen a number of significant merger and acquisition deals in recent years.

Belgium’s InBev acquired St Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in 2008, creating the world’s largest brewer with brands including Stella Artois, Beck’s and Bud Light.

Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, faced with a shrinking beer market at home, has been on an aggressive overseas expansion drive — in July it bought a stake in beverage and property conglomerate Fraser & Neave for $953-million. – Reuters

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