Report says Anheuser-Busch InBev begins talks to buyback South Korea's Oriental Brewery

December 11
9:14 PM 2013

Private equity investors of South Korea-based Oriental Brewery may look forward to a happy hour, according to NYT The Dealbook. The report said Anheuser-Busch InBev has already begun talks to buy back the brewer which it sold to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in a $1.8 billion deal four years ago. Should the deal push through, Oriental Brewery's private equity backers stand to earn an annualized return of 34%.

KKR purchased the brewery, maker of Cass and OB Golden Lager, using its own equity of $750 million. AB InBev helped fund the transaction with a payment-in-kind loan worth $300 million with an interest rate of only 8%. In this type of loan, the interest payments compound over time. Citing a Reuters Breakingviews report, The Dealbook also said that deal also gave AB InBev the right to repurchase Oriental Brewery from July 2014. The purchase price would be a multiple of 11 times the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization or EBITDA of the previous year.

The report said the private equity owners of Oriental Brewery have transformed the firm into the leading brewer in South Korea. By rebranding products so that it appeals to younger consumers and introducing new flavors, Oriental Brewery's share of volume and sales rose to more than 50% of the beer market. A Reuters report said the EBITDA of Oriental Brewery increased to $330 million at the start of this year from $200 million in 2008. The Dealbook said that Oriental Brewery would have an EBITDA of $374 by the beginning of next year if the brewer had continued that growth rate, suggesting a payment of $4.1 billion from AB InBev.

If the payment-in-kind note, which is valued at $441 million by the middle of next year, is subtracted and assuming that the private equity firms have already paid down an estimated half of the buyout debt that remained then the equity left would be valued at $3.3 billion. This corresponds to a 34% annualized return on their original investment, the report said. 

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