January 20, 2014 / 5:15 AM / 4 years ago

AB InBev to buy S.Korean brewer from KKR, Affinity for $5.8 bln

HONG KONG, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev SA has agreed to buy South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co Ltd from KKR & Co and Affinity Equity Partners for $5.8 billion including debt, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The acquisition enables AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, to regain ownership of a local Asian brand at a time when the region’s $258 billion beer market is growing twice as fast as the rest of the world.

AB InBev had sold Oriental Brewery (OB) to KKR for $1.8 billion in 2009, part of its efforts to ease the debt burden incurred in the $52 billion acquisition of U.S. beer maker Anheuser-Busch by InBev a year earlier.

KKR agreed to pay around $800 million in cash for OB and the rest in debt, people involved with the deal said at the time, later splitting the cash portion with Affinity for roughly half.

Under the 2009 deal, AB InBev had the right to buy back Oriental Brewery this year at predetermined financial terms.

ABIn Bev said it would use existing funds to finance the deal.

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