The UK government on Tuesday ordered Interbrew to sell Carling, the UK's number one beer, to allay competition fears following its purchase of Bass Brewers for £2.3bn ($3.38bn) last year, the Financial Times reports.
The decision waters down a previous ruling that would have required the sale of all of Bass Brewers' UK assets. Interbrew will have to sell the Carling, Caffrey's and Worthington brands. It will now be allowed to retain the Tennent's and Bass Ale brands, plus breweries in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The businesses being sold are thought to have earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about £150m. They have a market share of 18.1 per cent, meaning that the buyer will be catapulted to number two in the market, behind Scottish & Newcastle.
The sale is being handled by Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. Financial details are expected to be sent to bidders in weeks.