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Three Brewers interested in acquiring Mexico’s FEMSA Cerveza

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LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Three brewers are interested in acquiring Mexico’s FEMSA Cerveza in a $7.5-billion plus auction, with SABMiller (SAB.L) seen front runner in a deal likely to be sealed in January, sources close to the situation said yesterday.

Europe-based brewers SABMiller and Heineken are both keen to buy one of the last big emerging market brewers, while Japan’s largest brewer, Kirin Holdings Co , has asked for details on the brewer, which was effectively put up for sale last month.

“There are three groups looking at FEMSA. SABMiller and Heineken are in deep discussions, while Kirin has shown some interest,” said one source with knowledge of the situation.

American brewer Molson Coors looked at FEMSA’s beer operations but has backed away, largely reflecting the big loss it made buying Brazilian brewer Kaiser in 2002 then selling it to FEMSA in 2006, the sources said.

In early October, FEMSA (FMSAUBD.MX) (FMX.N) said it was in talks with several parties to explore opportunities involving its beer business, and FEMSA’s controlling family shareholders have already held talks with SABMiller, according to sources.

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