AUS: Asahi left to stew on P&N Beverages deal
Asahi facing delay on P&N Beverages
Australia's competition watchdog has delayed its decision on Asahi's proposed takeover of P&N Beverages, raising concerns that it could reject the deal.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not report its decision on the Asahi, P&N Beverages tie-up until 16 December, it said this week. It originally planned to publish its findings in late-October, but it scrapped this deadline "to await further information from merger parties".
The delay has renewed speculation that Asahi could struggle to get approval for its AUD364m (US$359.9m) takeover of P&N, which is the third largest soft drinks group in Australia. Asahi already owns the number two player, Schweppes Australia.
P&N Beverages would add around 50% to Asahi's current annual soft drinks sales in Australia, making the Japanese group a strong number two in the country behind Coca-Cola Amatil. Asahi said at the time of announcing the transaction that it expected P&N to achieve sales of JPY29bn in 2010.
Should Asahi fail to complete the P&N takeover, there is speculation that its Japanese rival, Suntory Holdings, might seek to move in. Suntory owns Frucor, previously the soft drinks arm of Danone in Australia and New Zealand.
It would appear that SABMiller's troops have been ordered to stand down for the time being. Developments in Australia yesterday (21 March), regarding the brewer's Pacific Beverages joint venture with ...
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