Sullivan & Cromwell and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett have the lead roles in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $5.8 billion re-purchase of South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co. Ltd. from private equity firms KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners.
The deal, announced Monday, is the largest foreign acquisition ever in Korea in terms of value. Subject to regulatory approval in South Korea, it is expected to close in the first half of 2014.
Oriental Brewery produces some of Korea’s most popular beer brands, including Cass, OB Golden Lager and Cafri. It is also the exclusive distributor in South Korea for AB InBev brands including Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden.
The former InBev first acquired Oriental Brewery in 1998 but then sold it in 2009 to KKR for $1.8 billion as part of a de-leveraging ahead of its $52 billion acquisition of American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. KKR subsequently sold half its stake in Oriental Brewery to Affinity, an Asia-focused buyout firm.
Now AB InBev is buying back Oriental Brewery from KKR and Affinity for over three times its sale price four years ago.
Sullivan & Cromwell Hong Kong partner Michael DeSombre and New York partner Frank Aquila are advising AB InBev.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Hong Kong partner Mark Pflug is representing KKR and Affinity. The firm also advised KKR in its 2009 purchase of Oriental Brewery.
Kim & Chang is acting as Korean counsel to both the buyer and sellers.