Final spurt for Pilsener Urquell & Co.

In the race for former SAB Miller breweries in Eastern Europe at least six bidders have submitted indicative offers. Reuters cited private sources that seller AB InBev had asked first-round bidders to hand in their quotes by Monday.

Reportedly quotes came from
- investment fund PPF Group
- Japanese brewer Asahi Holdings
- investment fund Bain Capital in a joint offer with private equity firm Advent
- investment fund KKR in a joint offer with private equity house Mid Europa Partners
- investment fund Jacobs Holdings in a joint offer with Canadian pension fund PSP Investments
- Hungarian energy group Mol in a joint offer with Polish juice maker Maspex Wadowice Group and Polish insurer PZU group

Other groups who were originally said to be interested in the 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) package with brands like Pilsener Urquell (Czech Republic), Tyskie and Lech (Poland), Dreher (Hungary), Ursus (Romania) and Topvar (Slovakia) were not available for comments.

People who are familiar with the matter said that PPF Group and its founder and majority shareholder Petr Kellner have a good chance in winning the race. Kellner (52) is a Czech business man and according to Forbes magazine with a net worth of $11.4 billion the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic. In 1991, he founded the investment fund PPF (První privatizační fond) and participated in the privatisation of the country´s economy. Today PPF owns assets exceeding €24.2 billion.

Asahi Holdings from Japan already bought SAB Millers Western European breweries Peroni (Italy), Grolsch (Netherlands) and Meantime (U.K.) for $2.84 billion earlier this year. They now came as a surprise bidder as Asahi Holdings Group President and Representative Director Akiyoshi Koji  in May announced that Asahi would not enter the race.

Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings earlier said it would not bid for all breweries but would be interested in the Pilsener Urquell brand if it was separately available. Investment funds, if they are able to buy the whole package, might be interested in breaking up the group and selling parts of it for a higher price.

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