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November 11, 2003

GERMANY: HVB still courting Brau und Brunnen sale

HVB Group AG is still in talks with interested parties about selling its stake in Brau und Brunnen AG.

HVB Group AG is still in talks with interested parties about selling its stake in Brau und Brunnen AG. Of the several interested buyers, no single bidder has entered into exclusive talks yet, according to reports.

HVB currently holds a 62% stake in the brewer, but some reports from Germany suggest that the company is offering its stake together with around 11% held by Beteiligungsgesellschaft Donath KG, along with some shares held by the brewer itself. This brings the total for sale up to over 75%.

Welt am Sonntag reported last weekend that representatives from Bank One Corp private equity unit One Equity Partners were already sitting in on board meetings at Brau und Brunnen, indicating that it had emerged as the leading bidder. Last month, Brau und Brunnen said that there were four bidders in advanced talks to acquire the stake, including two other companies in the industry and two financial investors.

Companies thought to be interested in increasing their presence in Germany include Interbrew, Heineken, SABMiller and Scottish & Newcastle. HVB is keen on closing the deal by the end of 2003, although chairman Dieter Rampl was quoted recently as saying that it is “better to make a good deal in January than a poor one in December”.

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