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World’s biggest brewer sells world’s biggest beer

AB InBev has agreed to sell SABMiller’s stake in China-based Snow beer, the world’s biggest-selling beer brand, to China Resources Beer for US$1.6 billion.

Snow Beer
Snow beer, the world’s biggest-selling beer brand

CR Snow – which produces Snow beer – is currently run in a joint venture by SABMiller and China Resources Beer (CRB), but today’s announcement will see SAB’s 49% stake bought by the Chinese company, giving it full control.

The deal has already been signed and sealed, pending Chinese regulatory approval, given that the China Resources board and its majority shareholder all agreed to the buyout.

In 2008 Snow beer overtook Bud Light to become the world’s biggest-selling beer brand, and in 2012, 120 million hectolitres of Snow beer was sold, mainly in China.

The deal is subject to the successful £71 billion takeover by AB InBev of SABMiller, which was first announced in November last year.

SAB’s sell-off of Snow is the latest in a series of brand divestments which have been made to address concerns from regulators that the takeover would result in monopolisation of beer market.

“This announcement represents the next step in AB InBev’s continued commitment to proactively address regulatory considerations in its recommended acquisition of SABMiller,” the Belgium-based brewer said in a statement to investors.

“CRB’s acquisition of SABMiller’s stake in CR Snow is expected to close in conjunction with AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller,” it said.

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