Anheuser-Busch has restarted talks to sell its German beer brands Hasseröder and Diebels, after a planned deal fell through.
The global brewer’s German business had planned to sell the brands, which both date back to the 1870s, to CK Corporate Finance. But in a statement on Monday, AB InBev Deutschland said: “CK Corporate Finance Group has so far not been able to meet all the contractual conditions to complete the transaction by mid-2018.”
Anheuser-Busch has re-opened the bidding process and is again holding talks with interested parties.
Harm van Esterik, the head of AB InBev’s German operation, said: “As part of our focus, we continue to seek the sale of Hasseröder and Diebels and the associated brewery sites. It is important for us now to make it clear to everyone involved that we are actively working on alternatives and testing offers – especially with regard to our employees, brands and locations.”
Hasseröder includes a range of bottled beers including a pils, radler and 4% ABV lighter beer called Hasseröder Vier.
The Diebels brand is best known for its traditional altbier, but amid growing interest in lighter options has also developed light, alcohol-free and cola pre-mix versions.
Anheuser-Busch reached an agreement in January for both heritage brands to be sold – as well as breweries in Issum, near Duisberg; and Wernigerode, in central Germany. The purchase price was not disclosed but Anheuser-Busch established the timeline of mid-2018 which it has now abandoned with its most recent statement.
A sale would have allowed AB to “fully focus” on core brands like Beck’s, Franziskaner and Corona, van Esterik said.
CK Corporate Finance planned to capitalise on the heritage of the two brands to “ensure sustainable growth and competitiveness”. Anheuser-Busch has hinted that the deal could still go ahead, but it is looking increasingly precarious. Indeed, Anheuser-Busch may have to find an entirely new bidder in order for the divestment process to resume.
By Alex Clere
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