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Asahi claims control of Charlie’s, extends buying spree

Asahi claims control of NZ’s Charlie’s, extends spree of acquisitions

By Jonathan Underhill

Aug. 12 (BusinessDesk) – Japanese brewer Asahi Group has acquired New Zealand’s Charlie’s Group Ltd., reaching the 90% level of acceptances for the juice and soft-drink company, the latest in a spree of acquisitions.

Asahi’s New Zealand unit declared it had 90.6% of Charlie’s, allowing it to compulsorily the rest under takeover law. Directors Stefan Lepionka and Marc Ellis were among major shareholders who accepted the offer early.

The $129 million acquisition comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared Asahi to buy P&N Beverages, that country’s third biggest juice and chilled drink company with brands including Pop Tops, Extra Juicy and Tiger ginger beer.

The maker of Asahi Dry beer is also reportedly looking at Independent Liquor, the company founded by Michael Erceg, who died in a helicopter accident.

The website reported that Japanese mergers and acquisitions of foreign companies reached a record 3 trillion yen in the first half of 2011.

The purchase of Charlie’s comes after the company won shelf space in Australian supermarket shelves. It also agreed to buy Malaysian soft drink maker Permanis.

Charlie’s fell 2.3% to 43% on the NZX today.


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