AB InBev to offload Peroni and Grosch to please regulators

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Peroni looks set to be offloaded by its new owner AB InBev to please competition authorities
Peroni looks set to be offloaded by its new owner AB InBev to please competition authorities

Related tags Molson coors brewing company

Brewing giant AB InBev will look to offload its newly-acquired Peroni and Grolsch brands in a bid to appease EU competition regulators following its takeover of rival SAB Miller, with Heineken and Molson Coors the most likely bidders, according to an industry expert.

Competition authorities will take an interest in the business as its market share climbed to 28.4%, three times the amount of its nearest rival Heineken, forcing the disposal of brands, Warwick Business School professor of practice John Colley said.

“Likely bidders for Peroni and Grolsch include Heineken and Molson Coors. A consequence is that we are likely to see further concentration of brand ownership which in turn will mean less choice and possibly higher prices for the consumer,”​ he said.

‘Many disposals to follow’

“As competition authorities start to become interested when combined market shares exceed 25%, there may be many more disposals to follow. This will occur in a number of European markets and market share in China will exceed 40%. Competition authorities will be carefully examining the deal there.”

Any disposals we do see would drive value out of the £68bn deal as sales are normally at a lower price that the original SABMiller takeover price, Colley claimed.

In more than half of all takeovers, shareholder value is destroyed and the vast majority fail to deliver expected benefits, he added.  

Craft beers

As big brands progressively dominate distribution we will see further progress of highly individual, often localised, craft brands, Colley predicted.

“These are developing a strong following in the UK and US,” ​he said.

“While they lack the scale economies and sheer marketing power of the big brands they appeal to individuality and offer a wide variety of tastes.

“The big brewers are trying to acquire some for their own craft offering to participate in what beer market growth there is. However, high costs and many fragmented brands is not their business.”

What AB Inbev acquired

Blue Moon, Bulmers, Carling Black Label, Carlton, Castle Lager, Coors Light, Foster’s (Australia), Grolsch, Miller Lite, Peroni, Victoria Bitter and a number of other leading brands.


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