Asahi Europe, subsidiary of global beverage and food company Asahi Group, has entered into an agreement to purchase the entire beer, cider, soft drinks and distribution business of Fuller, Smith & Turner for the sum of £250m. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Through the agreement, Asahi will enter the UK’s cask beer and cider categories with ownership of brands such as Fuller’s, Dark Star – bought out by Fuller’s last year – and Cornish Orchards cider. The deal also includes Fuller’s wine wholesaling operations and distributor Nectar Imports.
‘We have long admired the brewing business and exceptional beer brands that Fuller’s has built over the years and the high degree of respect it commands throughout the global beer industry,’ said Akiyoshi Koji, chief executive officer of Asahi Group.
‘London Pride is a fantastic brand with an illustrious heritage dating back to the 1950s and we are excited about its untapped international potential which Asahi has the scale and global network to unlock.’
While Asahi will take over the current brewing site in Chiswick, London, Fuller’s will retain ownership of its pub operations, which already generates 87% of its profits. Asahi will act as a key supplier to Fuller’s licensed venues, which will stock leading Asahi brands such as Peroni and Meantime, which Asahi acquired in 2016.
‘We remain incredibly proud of the Fuller’s beer business, its history and the high-quality premium beer and cider portfolio that we have developed,’ commented Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s.
‘Brewing has formed an integral part of our history and brand identity, however the core of Fuller’s and the driver of our future growth is now our premium pubs and hotels business.’