Oriental Bought Back by World's No. 1 Brewer

Oriental Brewery, Korea's No. 1 beer manufacturer, has been bought back by the world's largest brewer.

Anheuser-Busch InBev on Monday said it decided to buy back Oriental Brewery from private equity firms KKR and Affinity Equity Partners for US$5.8 billion.

AB InBev purchased Oriental from Doosan Group in 1998 and ran it for 11 years until selling it to KKR and Affinity for $1.8 billion in 2009. Five years later, AB InBev is paying 3.2 times more than its original price tag.

AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said he wants to consolidate his company's standing in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific market.

AB InBev made the decision when it saw the Korean beer market grow around two percent a year from 2009 to 2012 and still have room for further growth. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.

AB InBev is based in Leuven, Belgium and owns the Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden brands. It said it will retain Oriental's name.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 21, 2014 12:49 KST