Germany: AB InBev's sale of Hasseröder and Diebels failed

Five months after the reported sale of two breweries in Germany with combined yearly sales of more than 2 million hectoliters to a financial investor AB InBev stands before the shattered remains of a failed decision. The company today confirmed rumors that financial investor Daniel Deistler and his CK Corporate Finance Group did “not meet all the contractual requirements for the completion of the transaction in mid-2018.”

According to the agreement from January this year Deistler agreed to fulfill all conditions set by AB InBev for the purchase of Hasseröder Brauerei and Diebels Brauerei “not later than 30.06.2018”. However, the time limit has expired unsuccessfully and a works meeting set for this Friday by the new investor did not take place.

Already in January people close to the matter wondered about the investor, who was totally unknown to the industry and had no experience whatsoever in the field of food and beverage. Deistler said at that time that he had “fulfilled a heart's desire”. In a press release he was quoted as saying: "My passion for the brands Hasseröder and Diebels, the respect for the great tradition and the enthusiasm of the customers for the beers are a great foundation to promote the growth of these traditional brands and to make the public again aware of them." (inside.beer, 16.1.2018)

Soon later it became known that Deistler already had a most doubtful history of failed takeovers. A few years ago, Deistler invested in the company Behr Mylau, a manufacturer of motorcycle rims, which he took over from the Stuttgart automotive supplier Mahle. Deistler’s investment company involved in the deal was renamed Saxess Holding, an artificial name composed of the location of the company in Saxony and success. Unfortunately the investment was not successful at all because not even one year later the company was bankrupt and 60 people lost their jobs. Deistler was sentenced in 2016 by the regional court Frankfurt of having unlawfully transferred patents and brand rights and taking money out of the company without permission. Because he filed an appeal a final judgement in this case is pending up to date.

An interesting parallel is the fact that Thomas Buchholz, former managing director with Mahle, who like Deistler never worked in the beverage industry before, became new managing director of Hasseröder an Diebels shortly after the announced takeover in February. When asked at that time, if Deistler had enough money to pay the presumed purchase price of €200 million, he said: “Just assume that he has the money."

AB InBev on the other side has now to restart the difficult selling process for the two subsidiaries. “Anheuser-Busch InBev Germany is again holding discussions with selected interested parties in parallel with its cooperation with the CK Corporate Finance Group," the company said.

"As part of our focus, we continue to seek the sale of Hasseröder and Diebels and the associated brewery sites," said Harm van Esterik, head of AB InBev Germany. "We are actively working on alternatives and testing offers - especially with regard to our employees, brands and locations."

It does not seem unlikely that AB InBev will now focus more on a management buy-out solution, something which was already discussed earlier (inside.beer, 4.11.2017) and worked well with other hard-to-sell breweries in Germany like Hofbrauhaus Wolters, Privatbrauerei Eichbaum or Park & Bellheimer.

 

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