Fuller’s sells beer business to Asahi in US$329 million deal

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28 Jan 2019 --- UK-based Fuller’s has sold its entire beer business to Asahi Europe Ltd (AEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd (Asahi), for a total value of £250 million (US$329.2 million) on a debt free, cash free basis. The business being sold comprises the entirety of Fuller’s beer, cider and soft drinks brewing and production, wine wholesaling, as well as the distribution thereof, and also includes the Griffin Brewery, Cornish Orchards, Dark Star Brewing and Nectar Imports (Beer Business).

Under the agreed terms, AEL is set to acquire the brands of the Beer Business (including London Pride) and will receive the benefit of a license, on a perpetual, global, exclusive and royalty-free basis, to use certain trademarks for the provision of beverages. Ownership of the licensed trade marks will be retained by Fuller’s, says the company.

Having considered its options for the Beer Business and Fuller’s existing relationship with Asahi, Fuller’s believes that Asahi is the ideal owner of the Beer Business and will create the right US environment for the Beer Business to flourish in the future and protect Fuller’s brewing heritage.  

Following completion, Fuller’s will be a focused, premium pub and hotel operator pursuing its previously stated strategy of running a stylish, high-quality estate, reports the company.

Fuller’s will form a strategic alliance with Asahi that will ensure continued access to the premium beer brands that Fuller’s has always brewed.

Simon Emeny, Chief Executive of Fuller’s, comments: “This deal secures the future of both parts of our business including protecting the heritage of the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, West London (UK), which was particularly important to the Fuller’s Board.”

“We remain incredibly proud of the Fuller’s Beer Business, its history and the high-quality premium beer and cider portfolio that we have developed. Brewing has formed an integral part of our history and brand identity. However the core of Fuller’s and the driver of our future growth is now our premium pubs and hotels business,” he notes.

“Asahi, as a company recognized for brewing excellence, is an appropriate custodian of our rich brewing history and the Griffin Brewery and will ensure that the Fuller’s Beer Business brands will reach an even wider global audience,” Emeny explains.

Akiyoshi Koji, CEO of Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd, also states: “We have long admired the brewing business and exceptional beer brands that Fuller’s has built over the years and the high degree of respect it commands throughout the global beer industry. Fuller’s is one of the few brewers that show the same genuine commitment to brewing excellence and quality that we do. We strongly believe that the brands of the Beer Business, including London Pride, Frontier and Cornish Orchards among others, complement our premium portfolio in the UK market,” he continues. 

“In particular, London Pride is a fantastic brand with an illustrious heritage dating back to the 1950’s and we are excited about its untapped international potential which Asahi has the scale and global network to unlock,” Koji concludes.

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