Heineken weighs takeover of South Africa’s Distell Group

Deal would be brewer’s most significant transaction in years

Heineken is working with advisers and made an approach to Distell in recent weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Heineken is working with advisers and made an approach to Distell in recent weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

 

Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, is in talks with South African drinks maker Distell about a possible acquisition, the two companies said on Tuesday, in what would mark a push into wine and spirits for the world’s second-largest brewer.

Wines, spirits and cider maker Distell, which had a market capitalisation of 31.8 billion rand (€1.85 billion) at Monday’s close, said Heineken was interested in buying the majority of its business, sending its shares up more than 10 per cent in early trade.

“Heineken... confirms that it is currently engaged with Distell regarding a potential transaction. Discussions are ongoing, but note that there can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached,” Heineken said in a statement shortly after.

A takeover of Distell would be Heineken’s most significant transaction in years.

Heineken and Distell, the world’s largest and second-largest cider makers respectively, have gone head-to-head for the cider market in South Africa since Heineken launched its Strongbow brand there in 2016.

Distell has in recent years also been ramping up its business elsewhere on the continent as part of a drive to become Africa’s next drinks champion, filling a gap it sees as left by SABMiller following its 2016 takeover by Anheuser-Bush InBev . – Bloomberg