Anheuser-Busch Will Buy Top Korean Beer Maker

Just the latest alcohol producer to change hands between East and West

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The world’s largest beer brewer announced it’s buying top Korean beer maker Oriental Brewery in a $5.8 billion deal, as the game of musical chairs between alcohol producers in East and West continues.

For Belgian beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev, it was a buy-back. It had originally sold South Korea’s premier brewery for $1.8 billion in 2008 to a private equity firm, and will now repurchase the much-expanded company for a higher price tag, said the Wall Street Journal. The $5.8 billion sale of the brewer to Anheuser-Busch by private equity firms KKR Co. and Affinity was the biggest private equity exit in Asia ever.

Oriental Brewery is South Korea’s name-brand beer maker, controlling 82 percent of industry profits, the WSJ reports. Earlier this month, a Japanese company announced it would acquire the quintessential American bourbon company Beam, maker of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.