Molson Coors (TAP) Strikes Deal to Buy StarBev for $3.5B

Molson Coors (TAP) Strikes Deal to Buy StarBev for $3.5B

Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE:TAP) made headlines on Tuesday as the brewery has said that they have struck a deal with StarBev for 2.65 billion euros ($3.54 billion). Currently, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners owns StarBev which earned 700 million euros in sales last year.

If you remember correctly, CVC Capital Partners purchased StarBev from Anheuser-Busch back in December 2009 for $3 billion and has since received quite a few buyout offers for the firm.

StarBev has seen its underlying numbers hit a little bit due to the financial crisis in Europe, however, beer is still looked at as a growth opportunity in Central and Eastern Europe. This was the primary reason for Molson Coors to buy StarBev, beer growth in emerging markets. Molson Coors will be inheriting StarBev’s impressive product line of over 20 different brands.

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Don’t be afraid, Molson has done this before. In fact, the brewery has seen its sales growth increase as they have pushed into other emerging markets such as China, Russia, Ukraine. Combined with its revamped sales pitch in the US, UK and Canada which the company says should raise revenue to “mid-teens”.

Moody’s is worried about StarBev’s potential inability to weather the current financial crisis because the beer consumption has been hard to predict in past few recessions. Because of this, Moody’s downgraded Molson’s credit rating to Baa2 and recommends that the brewery take out a bridge loan to make sure that they can pay off bonds that are set to mature in the next year or so.

The bottom line here, regardless of Moody’s warns, this is a great opportunity for Molson. Lately, I have been very impressed with Molson’s initiative to get back its sales and profitability. First they revamp their brands and update them to appeal more to customers. Next, they announce a first ever, ice-tea beer, which could be a huge growth story, if it’s a hit. Now, the company is successfully moving into emerging markets. This is definitely a tick up for the firm and this deal could absolutely put Molson Coors back on top of its competitors. The beer market has been slow to recover which begs the question, do brewers need to innovate? Molson Coors answered that question with a “yes” and these guys obviously are taking a more proactive approach which should be very rewarding to investors by the end of the year.