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A-B InBev receives just one bid for it’s Central & Eastern European business

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Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has received only one bid for its central and eastern European operations from CVC Capital Partners, the private equity group, throwing the auction into doubt.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, the US private equity groups, had expressed interest in the assets, which include 11 breweries in Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

But only CVC submitted a bid, worth about €1bn-€1.5bn ($1.4bn-$2.1bn), by this week’s deadline. One person familiar with the negotiations said there was a strong possibility that AB Inbev might now scrap the auction, especially as other asset sales have eased its debt worries.

The Belgian brewer of Beck’s embarked on a $7bn divestment campaign to pay down the debt it incurred by its $52bn purchase of Budweiser’s parent, Anheuser-Busch, in July 2008.

CVC has been in talks with about a dozen banks, including JPMorgan, ING, HSBC, Unicredit, Société Générale and Calyon, about raising €700m of debt to finance its bid.

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Friday, November 24, 10:27 pm

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