Asahi to Buy SABMiller Brands for 900 Billion Yen, Nikkei Says

(Bloomberg) -- Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy SABMiller Plc’s eastern European assets from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV for 900 billion yen ($7.8 billion), Nikkei newspaper reported on its website, as the Budweiser maker ties up loose ends resulting from the combination of the world’s two biggest brewers.

An announcement is due as soon as this afternoon, the paper reported. Asahi’s spokesman declined to comment on the report, adding the company isn’t the source of it.

The divestment of operations brings AB InBev a step closer to meeting the antitrust commitments that allowed it to buy SABMiller for about $100 billion. The brewer already agreed to sell the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands to Japan’s Asahi for 2.55 billion euros. In March, China Resources agreed to buy out SABMiller’s remaining stake in the Snow beer venture for $1.6 billion, helping AB InBev secure Chinese antitrust approval.

Asahi shares fell after the Nikkei report, declining as much as 6.4 percent, the biggest intraday drop since June 24.

The deal brings some much-needed cheer for AB InBev investors, who have seen the stock slide 15 percent this year through Monday. In October, the brewer missed profit estimates for the sixth straight quarter, illustrating why it needed to acquire SABMiller.