LONDON — Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Thursday that it planned to seek the sale of several of SABMiller’s premium brands in Europe, including Peroni and Grolsch, in the hope of easing regulatory concerns about the brewers’ proposed $105 billion merger.
The move is the second major asset sale that the companies have announced as they look to create an industry giant with annual revenue of about $64 billion that would account for nearly 30 percent of beer sales globally.
The combination would give Anheuser-Busch InBev, already the world’s largest brewer, a substantial operation in Africa, where it has little presence, and greater dominance in Latin America.
In November, SABMiller said that it would sell its 59 percent stake in MillerCoors in the United States to Molson Coors Brewing, a joint venture partner, for about $12 billion.
That transaction includes the global rights to the Miller brand, as well as the rights to sell Peroni and other brands in the United States. It would make Molson Coors the second-largest brewer in the United States, behind Anheuser-Busch InBev.
A deal between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller would be the latest merger of mass-market beer brands.
On Thursday, Anheuser-Busch InBev said that it would seek to sell the Peroni and Grolsch brands and their associated businesses in Britain, Italy and the Netherlands. It also said it would seek to sell Meantime Brewing Company, a British craft brewer that SABMiller bought in May.
“Any sale may include one or more of these brands or businesses and would be conditional upon closing of the acquisition of SABMiller,” Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a news release.
The announcement came after news reports this weekend indicated that Anheuser-Busch InBev was considering the sale of the Peroni and Grolsch brands to appease regulators.
SABMiller said that Anheuser-Busch InBev would lead the sales process with SABMiller providing assistance, including the “preparation of the relevant information for potential buyers.”
“These beers are loved by consumers, and we are very proud of them,” Alan Clark, the chief executive of SABMiller, said in a news release. “Until the change of control, we will continue to invest in growing these great beers and supporting our talented people who brew, sell and manage them.”
Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller reached an agreement in principle to merge on Oct. 13 and completed their negotiations last month, with SABMiller’s board recommending that shareholders accept the deal.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is offering to pay 44 pounds, or about $66, a share in cash for SABMiller.
As part of the transaction, SABMiller’s two largest shareholders — the American tobacco giant Altria and the Santo Domingo family of Colombia — agreed to receive restricted shares and a smaller amount of cash at a discount to the cash offer, allowing them to avoid a huge tax bill from the sale of their holdings.
As a result, Anheuser-Busch InBev would probably pay a total of £69.8 billion.
Analysts have indicated that the companies may have to sell assets to win regulatory approval, including SABMiller’s 49 percent stake in a joint venture that owns Snow, China’s best-selling beer brand.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the third-largest brewer in China, behind CR Snow, SABMiller’s joint venture, and Tsingtao Brewery, but it would become the country’s largest brewer by market share if it is allowed to keep the stake.
China Resources Enterprise, SABMiller’s joint venture partner, would be a likely buyer in the event of a sale, analysts said.
As part of the SABMiller merger, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to pay a $3 billion fee if regulators did not approve the merger.
Euromonitor, a research firm, has estimated that a combined Anheuser-Busch InBev-SABMiller could account for 29 percent of global beer sales even after selling some assets. It would also be more than three times as large in terms of sales as its next closest competitor, the Dutch brewer Heineken, according to Euromonitor.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has tackled similar regulatory issues before.
It was forced to restructure its $20.1 billion takeover of Grupo Modelo of Mexico in 2013 after the Justice Department sued to block the deal.
Among the concessions in that deal, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to sell the rights to Corona beer and other Grupo Modelo brands in the United States to Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest wine companies, for $2.9 billion.
Chad Bray, The New York Times
Anheuser-Busch InBev to Sell Brands in Europe to Ease Beer Merger