After having called off its planned initial public offering (IPO), the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced that it will be selling its Australian business.
The company revealed that it has already struck a deal with Japan's Asahi Group Holdings for its Australian unit Carlton & United Breweries.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the owner of popular beer brands such as Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois, is selling its Australian unit to Asahi for $11.3 billion.
The deal was announced on Friday, the same day the company was scheduled to list its Asian business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The planned IPO, which could have raised more than $9.8 billion for the company, would have been the largest one in the Asian exchange for 2019. Anheuser-Busch InBev pulled out its IPO plans citing that it was concerned about the current "market conditions."
As part of its announcement regarding its Australian business unit, Anheuser-Busch InBev revealed that it was still open to listing its Asian business in the near future. The company stated that it was just waiting for the right opportunity where it can list at the right valuation.
The company also stated that it does have plans to sell off some of its other assets in Asia to reduce its outstanding debt. The drinks and brewing company currently has outstanding debts of more than $102.5 billion. Anheuser-Busch InBev currently has several subsidiaries in active operation in the region. However, the firm did not specify which of its business units it would be selling next.
Since its acquisition of SABMiller is 2016, the company has been struggling to pay down its debts. Despite nearly doubling its portfolio of brands, the company experience dips in sales as people around the world drank less alcoholic beverages. Last year, the company pledged to significantly reduce its debts through the sale of various assets and through different strategies.
Under its agreement with Asahi, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be granting the Japanese firm all the rights to commercialize its products, including its global and international brands, in Australia. The deal is expected to be finalized by the first quarter of 2020.
Following the announcement of its deal with Asahi, Anheuser-Busch InBev's stocks jumped in premarket trading. Hopes that the company would be able to significantly reduce its debt this year boosted investor confidence, sending the firm's share up by more than 4 percent. Despite the boost, the brewer's stock is still down by 10 percent this year, with a market value of around $151.3 billion.