AB InBev, which sells brands including Stella Artois and Bud Light, retained an option to buy back OB, as the South Korean biggest brewer is known, within five years from the date of the 2009 sale. For the buyout firms, it was a high risk deal less than a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers when there was no clarity on how long the global recession would last.
Under its private equity owners, OB cut costs, increased cash flow and gained market share to become South Korea's biggest brewer. At the end of 2013, OB had an estimated $500 million in EBITDA, a core measure of cash flow, the statement added.
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AB InBev was keen to reach an agreement well before the fifth anniversary of the initial deal as it had feared rival suitors to be interested in OB, which along with Hite Jinro controls 90 percent of South Korea's beer market.
It has also been keen on South and Central American growth and last year it acquired its remaining shares of Mexico's Modelo Grupo for $20.1 billion.
Rapid growth in Asia's beer market has drawn global brewers seeking to offset sluggish sales in mature markets and as a result, beer-related M&A in Asia has commanded rich premiums. Heineken NV paid $6.4 billion for control of Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd in 2012, translating into a multiple of 35 times earnings.