Private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) & Co is on the verge of signing an agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to buy the brewer's Oriental Brewery in South Korea, according to a report.

KKR, which has been touted by analysts in recent weeks as the front-runner in the race to buy Oriental, could sign a deal with A-B InBev this week, a report by Reuters said yesterday (5 May), citing sources close to the situation.

It said the brewer, which is the second largest in South Korea behind Hite Brewery, could be sold for around US$1.8bn.

A-B InBev has repeatedly refused to comment on the Oriental sale process. Group CEO Carlos Brito refused to confirm that Oriental was up for sale during a press conference last week.

Analsyts believe that A-B InBev had been seeking a price of around US$2bn for Oriental.

The brewer has said that it is committed to disposals of certain assets, in order to help pay back a $7bn bridge loan taken out to help InBev finance its $52bn takeover of Anheuser late last year.