EXCLUSIVE-ABInbev, KKR in advanced talks over $4.5 bln Oriental Brewery deal -sources
HONG KONG/NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev SA is in advanced discussions to buy South Korea's Oriental Brewery from private equity owners KKR & Co LP and Affinity Equity Partners for more than $4.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The parties are hammering out final terms of a deal with the aim to reach an agreement before the end of January, the people said.
Discussions are continuing and could still fall apart, and there is no guarantee that a deal will be struck, the people cautioned, asking not to be named because the matter is not public. If final terms are agreed, a deal could come as early as next week, one person added.
KKR and Affinity Equity declined to comment, while AB InBev did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Oriental Brewery could not be immediately reached for comment.
AB InBev, the world's biggest brewer, sold Oriental Brewery to KKR for $1.8 billion in 2009. That sale was part of InBev's efforts to raise money to ease the debt burden from its acquisition of U.S. beer maker Anheuser-Busch a year earlier.
KKR later sold half of the equity stake in Oriental Brewery to Affinity.
(Reporting by Stephen Aldred, Denny Thomas in Hong Kong and Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)