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Asahi gets greenlight from FIRB to acquire CUB

Japanese beer giant Asahi has received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to acquire Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) in a $16 billion deal.

“Both parties will move to complete this acquisition on 1 June, with CUB joining the Asahi Beverages family on that day,” chairman Asahi Beverages, Peter Margin, said.

CUB will become a business divsion of Asahi Beverages Regional Hub in Oceania, alongside Asahi Lifestyle Beverages, Asahi Premium Beverages and Asahi Beverages New Zealand.

In April, the competition watchdog, ACCC, said it will not oppose the acquisition of CUB based on Asahi’s move to put its Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green cider brands and the Stella Artois and Beck’s beer brands up for sale. Previously, ACCC raised concerns that the deal could lessen competition in cider and beer due to the number of major brands across the two portfolios.

“The ACCC was concerned that without the divestments, the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the cider market and remove a vigorous and effective competitor in the beer market,” ACCC Rod Sims said.

“Without the sale of five beer and cider brands including Strongbow and Stella Artois, the combined Asahi-CUB company would have accounted for two thirds of cider sales in Australia, and owned the two largest cider brands, Somersby and Strongbow.”

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