Carlsberg Swoops for Germany's Holsten

21 January 2004

Danish brewer Carlsberg is looking to bolster its portfolio of beer brands with a billion-euro takeover of Germany's Holsten-Brauerei.

In a daring raid on Europe's biggest beer market, Carlsberg has secured conditional agreement for the purchase of 51% in Holsten from the Eisenbeiss family and is offering €38 9 ($47.55; £26.26) for each of the German firm's 13.75 million shares. The total deal, which requires 75% of shareholders to accept the bid, is valued at €1.065 billion.

Antitrust officials in Germany are expected to clear the deal by the end of next month. If the takeover is approved, Carlsberg plans to shed a number of Holsten's breweries to the Bitburger Group for €469m. It will also offload the acquired firm's mineral water assets for around €159m.

If successful, the plan will leave Carlsberg as north Germany's biggest brewer. The Danish firm will also gain control of several lucrative brands, including the Holsten label itself, Lubzer, Feldschlosschen and Astra.

Exported to over 90 countries, Holsten is one of the world's fastest-growing beer brands. According to drinks research firm Canadean, only the Carlsberg label has expanded more rapidly.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff