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SABMiller Agrees to Acquire Meantime to Add U.K. Craft Beers

Published on May 15 2015 8:36 AM in Drinks tagged: Beer / SABMiller / Meantime

SABMiller Agrees to Acquire Meantime to Add U.K. Craft Beers

SABMiller Plc agreed to buy Meantime Brewing Co. of the U.K. as the world’s second-biggest brewer looks to fast-growing craft beer amid stagnant sales of mass-market beverages.

The acquisition adds a business whose products are sold in more than 900 pubs and bars, as well as in Waitrose, J Sainsbury Plc and Marks & Spencer Group Plc stores. Financial terms weren’t disclosed in a statement Friday.

SABMiller and other big brewers increasingly have been trying to capture some of the growth and cachet enjoyed by startup craft producers. Meantime, founded in 1999 by Alastair Hook, makes beers including London Pale Ale, London Lager and Yakima Red. Sales by volume rose 58 percent last year, compared with 1 percent growth for overall U.K. beer sales, SABMiller said, without providing specific quantities.

Meantime Chief Executive Officer Nick Miller is returning to the company he worked for before joining the craft brewer.

SABMiller rose 0.3 percent to 3,610.5 pence as of 8 a.m. in London. The brewer reported stagnant full-year earnings and European beer volumes earlier this week and said it expects the business climate to remain challenging.

The acquisition includes Meantime’s retail sites, including the Tasting Rooms and the brewery shop in Greenwich, London, and the Greenwich Union pub.

Meantime’s products will complement SABMiller’s lineup of imported premium beers, such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, the FTSE 100-ranked company said.

Bloomberg News, edited by ESM

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