Lotte Group has confirmed that it is no longer in the bidding race for Anheuser-Busch InBev subsidiary Oriental Brewery, according to a report.

Lotte did not submit a final bid for Oriental, South Korea's second largest brewer, said Reuters this week.

Lotte's exit from the race is likely to leave private equity firms as the frontrunners to secure a deal, analysts believe.

The same Reuters report said that three private equity groups, Affinity Equity Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and MBK Partners, were favourites to buy Oriental, backed by funding from a coalition of banks.

A-B InBev has not publicly announced that it is to sell Oriental Brewery. The Belgium-based brewer told just-drinks that, although it is seeking to dispose of assets, it will not comment on which ones.

Gerard Rijk, analyst with Netherlands-based ING, told just-drinks last week that the Oriental sale process appears to be "coming to the end". He said that Oriental may sell for around US$1.6bn, lower than A-B InBev's initial asking price, which is thought to have been around $2bn.