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AB InBev seeks $9.8 billion for Asia unit in the world's largest IPO this year

Key Points
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev is seeking to raise up to $9.8 billion from a Hong Kong listing of its Asia-Pacific business.
  • It would be the world's largest initial public offering this year.
  • Budweiser Brewing Company APAC is selling 1.6 billion primary shares at between $5.13 to $6.02 apiece, according to termsheets seen by Reuters.
  • The deal will raise between $8.3 billion and $9.8 billion for heavily indebted AB InBev before any over-allocation option is included.
  • The IPO would give Budweiser Asia a market capitalization of up to $63.7 billion.
An employee adjusts bottles of Bud Light brand beer at an Anheuser-Busch InBev NV facility in Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is seeking to raise up to $9.8 billion from a Hong Kong listing of its Asia-Pacific business, marking what would be the world's largest initial public offering this year.

Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, which includes a portfolio of more than 50 beer brands in the region, is selling 1.6 billion primary shares at between HK$40-$47 ($5.13-$6.02) apiece, according to termsheets seen by Reuters.

The deal will raise between $8.3 billion and $9.8 billion for heavily indebted AB InBev before any over-allocation option is included, giving Budweiser Asia a market capitalization of up to $63.7 billion after the IPO.

Even at the low end of the price range, the IPO will be the biggest globally this year, outstripping the $8.1 billion raised in New York by Uber, data from Refinitiv shows.

AB InBev has previously said an IPO of its Asia business could help create a brewing champion for the region, where wealthy consumers are increasingly trading up to higher-margin premium beers, such as Budweiser or Corona.

The IPO pricing values Budweiser Asia at 16-18 times its enterprise value (EV) to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) ratio, one termsheet shows.

EV-EBITDA is a common valuation metric that seeks to help investors compare companies' operations and strip out the different effects of financing costs. Budweiser Asia's ratio compares with an EV-EBITDA value of 11 for AB InBev itself, according to Refinitiv data, 15 for China-focused Tsingtao and 10 for Japan's Kirin, another Asia-centric brewing giant.

The deal will be a welcome boost to Hong Kong, which is lagging behind the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq in terms of IPOs this year, with $8.9 billion to its credit compared with $14.9 billion and $17.5 billion raised by its U.S. rivals.

The biggest listing in the Asian financial hub so far in 2019 has been that of Chinese securities firm Shenwan Hongyuan, which raised $1.2 billion in April.

The investor response to the offering will also act as a barometer for other large share sales in the near future, with Alibaba considering raising as much as $20 billion through a listing in Hong Kong.

Budweiser Asia's deal is expected to price in New York on July 11 and the stock will debut in Hong Kong on July 19, the term sheet showed.

A spokeswoman for AB InBev declined to comment.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are the joint sponsors of the float. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank are the joint global coordinators for the offering.