Anheuser-Busch InBev has declined to comment on reports out of Germany claiming that it came close to selling off the Beck's beer brand.

German weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche said this weekend that A-B InBev had stepped back from selling Beck's to US-based private equity firm Bain Capital as contracts were ready to be signed. Bain had even secured funding in the region of EUR1.7bn (US$2.55bn) for the transaction, the magazine claimed, citing financial sources.

When contacted by just-drinks today (30 November), however, a spokesperson for A-B InBev said: "We have never commented on what assets were considered as part of our divestitures programme."

Last month, A-B InBev agreed to sell brewing assets in Eastern Europe to private equity group CVC Capital Partners for US$2.2bn, taking the brewer over its $7bn disposals target. The global brewer had been looking to hit the $7bn target to help repay a loan taken out to fund the purchase of Anheuser-Busch last year.

"As part of our Q3 results announcement," the spokesperson continued today, "we said having over achieved on our US$7bn divestitures target thereby concluding our formal divestitures programme."