Private equity group Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts has won the bidding battle for Anheuser-Busch InBev's Oriental Brewery in South Korea, according to a report.

Kohlberg (KKR) has been chosen as the buyer of Oriental, South Korea's second largest brewer behind Hite Brewery, after raising its bid to US$1.9bn, according to a Reuters report today (27 April), citing an unnamed Oriental Brewery official.

If correct, the figure is close to the $2bn asking price that several analysts believe A-B InBev has been seeking for Oriental.

A spokesperson for A-B InBev declined to comment to just-drinks today on speculation that a sale has been agreed.

KKR was last week cited in reports as being one of three private equity groups favoured to secure a deal for Oriental. The other two were Affinity Equity Partners and MBK Partners. South Korean retail giant, Lotte Group, is believed to have pulled out of the race.

Gerard Rijk, analyst with Netherlands-based ING, told just-drinks earlier this month that the Oriental sale process appeared to be "coming to the end".

A-B InBev has not publicly announced that it is selling Oriental. However, the brewer has said that it aims to raise $3.5bn in asset disposals in order to help fund a $7bn bridge loan taken out to secure InBev's $52bn takeover of Anheuser-Busch late last year.