Asahi unhappy with $1.3 bln NZ liquor deal-report

MELBOURNE Sun May 20, 2012 7:50pm EDT

MELBOURNE May 21 (Reuters) - Japan's Asahi Group Holdings may seek compensation for its purchase last year of New Zealand beverages group Independent Liquor from two private equity firms and is "asking questions" about the amount it paid, a newspaper report said on Monday.

Asahi bought the Auckland-based company - which makes and distributes alcoholic drinks including Vodka Cruiser and Woodstock Bourbon - from private equity groups Unitas and Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) for $1.27 billion.

A report in The Age newspaper said Asahi was upset about the deal.

"The industry speculation is Asahi is considering some form of monetary compensation from the former owners of ILG," the report said, without citing sources.

Independent Liquor, which was founded in Auckland, New Zealand in 1987, had NZ$414.4 million in revenue in 2010, but recorded a loss of NZ$22.7 million.

The newspaper report said Independent Liquor's group chief executive, Peter Murphy, had left the company and it was now being run by a local Asahi representative.

Unitas and PEP, Australia's largest buyout firm, bought Independent Liquor in 2006 for more than $1 billion. Unitas is a buyout group formerly known as CCMP, which was spun out of JP Morgan.

PEP could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Richard Pullin)