Asahi’s proposed acquisition of Carlton United Breweries continues to be monitored by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). It is now seeking feedback from the beer and cider industry on Asahi’s proposed divestment of brands, such as Strongbow and Stella.
Asahi's proposal aims to address the competition concerns raised by the ACCC in December in relation to Australia’s cider and beer ownership. The commission considers Asahi and CUB’s cider brands as “competing closely with each other”, while Asahi is a “vigorous competitor” to the two major suppliers in the beer category, where the competition would be removed if the acquisition goes ahead.
Asahi said it would divest Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green cider businesses and the Stella and Becks beer business to buyers approved by the competition watchdog.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said it is the ACCC’s usual practice to publicly consult on a proposed divestment package, and that it was not confirmation the Asahi’s CUB acquisition is approved.
“The release of the proposed divestment undertaking for public comment should not be interpreted as a signal that the ACCC will ultimately accept the undertaking and clear the transaction,” said Sims.
“We are seeking feedback from industry participants on whether the divestment package will be sufficient to address the competition concerns.”
The ACCC is calling for submissions from the market on whether the proposed divestment package would be likely to alleviate its competition concerns by 18 March 2020.