Molson Coors will spend $3.54 billion to buy StarBev and its nine breweries in central and eastern Europe as it expands its operations further.
The Denver brewer is betting on a vibrant region once the economic crises subsides in the European Union, where unemployment has now reached the highest point since the euro was introduced in 1999.
"The central and eastern European beer market is attractive, with strong historical trends and upside potential as the region returns to its pre-economic-crisis growth rates," President and CEO Peter Swinburn said Tuesday.
The brewer slogged through a similar economic swamp recently, when the economic crises cut severely into the budgets of beer drinkers in the U.S. However, Molson Coors appears to have emerged leaner and stronger in its most recent quarter, and the U.S. economy appears to be on the mend. Beer sales are again on the rise.
StarBev had sales of about $1 billion last year, brewing more than 11 million barrels of beer.
The company, which brews Bergenbier, Ozusko and Borsodi beers, is owned by funds advised by CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and StarBev management.
A deal for StarBev would help Molson Coors put its brands, such as Carling, into the hands of beer drinkers in central and Eastern Europe.
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