UPDATE 4-Japan's Asahi closes in on SABMiller's Peroni and Grolsch

miércoles 10 de febrero de 2016 14:08 GYT

* Asahi, AB InBev in exclusive talks following $2.9 bln bid

* Asahi eyes overseas expansion beer sales fall in Japan

* AB InBev seeking antitrust approval for SABMiller takeover (Adds financial details from source)

By Pamela Barbaglia, Edwina Gibbs and Martinne Geller

LONDON/TOKYO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Asahi Group Holdings said it is in exclusive talks to buy SABMiller's Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime beer brands for 2.55 billion euros ($2.9 billion), as it looks to offset slow growth in its home market.

The sale of the European brands is being orchestrated by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is trying to secure antitrust approval for its $100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller, agreed last year.

Asahi is Japan's biggest brewer with 38 percent of its home market, where a shrinking population and the increasing popularity of wine have weighed on beer sales over two decades.

With Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime, the company would diversify its footprint with sizeable positions in the premium beer segments of Italy, Britain and the Netherlands, and new distribution opportunities for its namesake Asahi Super Dry.

Asahi said it was buying the overseas businesses for growth, while its home market will remain its profit mainstay.   Continuación...