Affinity, MBK, KKR make Oriental Brewery shortlist

The three private equity firms are likely to to make it to the second round of bidding for the South Korean brewery.

Global buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Asian buyout majors Affinity Equity Partners and MBK Partners are among five prospective buyers for South Korea’s Oriental Brewery, a source familiar with the auction said.

The other companies bidding are Lotte Group, a Korean retail conglomerate, and SABMiller, a global brewing company. It is still early to predict which one of the five is likely to be the successful bidder, according to the source.

The vendor is expecting a second round of bidding towards the middle of April, the source added.

There were a total of about 10 bids submitted in the first round of the auction. Besides KKR, Affinity and MBK Partners, other firms reported to have submitted bids included Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company, owns a controlling stake in Oriental Brewery. The company wants to sell its non-core assets as it is looking to repay a $7 billion bridge loan linked to InBev’s $52 billion buyout of US-based Anheuser Busch in 2008, according to Reuters.

The sale of the brewery is expected to fetch in excess of $2 billion. It is being managed by JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank.