Carlton & United Breweries is now officially owned by Asahi Beverages, with the long-running acquisition officially completed earlier this week.
CUB becomes the newest business division of the Asahi Beverages Regional Hub alongside Asahi Premium Beverages, Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Asahi Beverages NZ.
Chairman, Asahi Beverages, Peter Margin said: “This is a very exciting time to be part of the Asahi Beverages family as we embark on the next chapter, as the Oceania regional hub for Asahi.
“The acquisition of CUB will mean that Asahi Beverages is able to offer customers and consumers an even broader range of great tasting beverages with the addition of some of Australia’s most popular and well-loved beer brands.”
Asahi said that CUB will “continue to operate in much the same way it does today”, except under the auspices of Asahi Beverages in Australia.
In approving the deal, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ruled that Asahi must undertake the divestment of three cider brands in Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green, as well as two beer brands in Stella Artois and Beck’s.
In its Competition Assessment of the deal the watchdog said: “ACCC data analysis and market feedback provided to the ACCC indicated that Strongbow (CUB) and Somersby (Asahi) are likely to be each other’s closest competitors. A significant number of consumers appear to switch between Strongbow and Somersby in response to changes in their relative prices.
“The ACCC considered that the threat of timely and profitable new entry or expansion of sufficient scale would not provide a strong competitive constraint on the combined entity.
“The ACCC concluded that the removal of the competitive rivalry between Asahi and CUB would be likely to enable a combined CUB and Asahi to profitably increase the price of cider products by a significant amount.
“The ACCC concluded that, absent the Asahi Undertaking, the proposed acquisition would have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of cider in Australia.”
The AFR has reported that Rothschild Australia has been appointed to facilitate the sale of the brands, with any purchaser needing to be approved by the ACCC.