• Deal for SABMiller assets may be worth as much as $3.4 billion
  • KKR, Mahou-San Miguil, Cinven said to be among other suitors

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. is planning to make an offer for SABMiller Plc’s Peroni and Grolsch brands as soon as next week, Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday.

The transaction may be worth as much as 400 billion yen ($3.4 billion), the newspaper said, without citing anyone. The company cannot confirm the report, Asahi spokesman Takuo Soga said by phone from Tokyo. Other suitors for SABMiller’s brands include KKR & Co., Mahou-San Miguil Group and Cinven, Bloomberg reported in December.

Japanese companies have been seeking foreign acquisitions to reduce dependence on a domestic market with a shrinking population. Nikkei Inc., the nation’s biggest financial news publisher, bought the Financial Times for $1.3 billion in 2015 and Suntory Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy U.S. whiskey maker Beam Inc. for $16 billion in 2014. Asahi is also considering buying soft drinks company Talking Rain, according to the Nikkei newspaper last month.

Selling SABMiller’s assets would smooth the way for Anheuser-Busch InBev NV to take over the brewer by helping to clear antitrust hurdles in Europe. AB InBev is selling assets around the globe to head off potential regulatory issues for the 71.9 billion-pound ($104 million) deal, dubbed “Megabrew,” that would combine the world’s two largest brewers.

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