US: A-B InBev quiet on Labatt USA bidders
InBev agreed in November to sell the Labatt USA business in order to gain clearance from US competition officials for its US$52bn takeover of Anheuser-Busch.
A number of medium-sized brewers have been touted as potential suitors, but an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (8 February) cited private equity firm KPS Capital Partners as a possible frontrunner.
A spokesperson for A-B InBev declined to comment on interest from KPS, which is also rumoured to be set to buy New York-based High Falls Brewing Co. A spokesperson for KPS could not be immediately contacted for comment.
KPS co-founder and managing partner Michael Psarsos said in an interview this month, published in the Mergers & Acquisitions trade journal and on KPS company website, that the firm had "ducked" deals in 2008.
However, he added: "With that said, looking out over the next two to three years, we're expecting to see the buying opportunity of a lifetime."
Analysts expect a deal for Labatt USA could fetch up to US$300,000.
Under the terms of InBev's agreement with the US competition regulator, the licence to market, sell and distribute Labatt will be handed to a third party. Labatt Brewing Company, based in Canada and partially owned by InBev, will then continue to brew and supply Labatt beer to the US licence holder for a minimum of three years.
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