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Molson Coors Beverage Co silent on European divestment report

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Molson Coors Beverage Co has declined to comment on a report claiming the group is lining up the sale of its European operations

Molson Coors owns the Carling beer brand in the UK

Molson Coors owns the Carling beer brand in the UK

M&A publication Dealreporter said yesterday a divestment of Molson Coors' European operations is "heavily anticipated" after the company appointed the Bank of America to review its global business. Citing a number of sources familiar with the situation, Dealreporter said Molson Coors could begin a divestment of assets including Carling in the UK and Staropramen in Czech this year.

A Molson Coors spokesperson told just-drinks the company does not comment on rumour or speculation.

Beverage analysts have recently considered the possibility of Molson Coors shedding non-North American operations. In December, after the group announced a strategic shift towards a wider alcoholic portfolio, Bernstein alcohol analyst Trevor Stirling said a European sale would help fund M&A and allow the brewer to offload breweries that were not key to driving growth.

Commenting on the Dealreporter article today, Stirling said Molson Coors may find it tough to locate buyers amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Given that the core Molson Coors UK business in particular will have taken a big hit from COVID, we think Molson Coors will struggle to get an attractive price," Stirling said.

The analyst also noted that the article confirms Bernstein's conclusion in December that none of the major brewers would be interested in buying the assets.

Asahi has bought a number of European brewers in recent years, including the Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzuro brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev four years ago and Fuller, Smith & Turner's beer operations in the UK in early-2019.

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