Australia: Asahi sells Strongbow and rights on AB InBev brands to Heineken

Asahi Beverages, the arm of Asahi Group Holdings in Australia and New Zealand and owner of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) will sell the cider brand Strongbow and the rights on several AB InBev beer brands for Australia to Heineken.

The Dutch company is reuniting after 17 years the market in Australia with more than 40 other countries in the world where Heineken is selling the world’s leading cider brand with a 15 per cent volume share of the global cider market. Strongbow is a brand of Bulmer's which in turn is a subsidiary of Heineken International. Along with Strongbow, Heineken will acquire two other cider brands, Little Green and Bonamy’s andwill also gain the perpetual licenses on beer brands Stella Artois and Beck’s in Australia, according to a press statement published by the buyer today.

Heineken also said that Asahi has provided a court-enforceable undertaking to Australia’s competition watchdog ACCC to divest the five brands which also requires Asahi to ensure the divested brands receive the same access to bars, pubs and clubs as well as off-premise space under tap-tying agreements as Asahi’s brands until June 2023.

“The acquisition of these brands by Heineken will fulfill Asahi Beverages’ obligations under the ACCC’s approval of our acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries,” Asahi said in its own press statement.

In July 2019, AB InBev announced to sell its Australian subsidiary CUB to Asahi Group Holdings (, 19.7.2019). However, Australia’s competition watchdog ACCC raised concerns and proposed the divestment of the aforementioned brands before approving the deal (, 28.2.2020). The regulatory approval of this last divestment is now expected in the last quarter of 2020.

Asahi also said that no manufacturing job losses nor brewery closures are associated with this deal.

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