Owner of Labatt USA, Genesee beer seeks buyer-sources

NEW YORK, Sept 6 Thu Sep 6, 2012 9:48pm IST

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NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - North American Breweries, which sells Genesee and Labatt beer in the United States, has been put up for sale by its owner, private equity firm KPS Capital Partners, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The sources did not want to be named because the process is not public.

The beer company could be worth around $400 million, one of the sources said. KPS has hired investment bank UBS to advise on the sale, according to that source.

NAB's other brands include Honey Brown Lager, Magic Hat and Pyramid.

KPS formed the company in February 2009 when it bought the Labatt brands in the U.S. for an undisclosed price from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The brewing giant needed to sell the business in order to receive Justice Department clearance for InBev's $52 billion takeover of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch. AB Inbev still sells Labatt beer outside of the U.S.

North American Breweries bought the privately held brewer of Genesee and Dundee brands in February 2009. It acquired Independent Brewers United Inc, which owned Magic Hat and Pyramid, in 2010.

The global brewing industry has been rife with deals as the industry leaders, such as AB InBev, SABMiller PLC and Heineken, seek to boost their exposure in emerging markets and take on smaller brands.

For example Heineken, which in June struck a deal to buy a Belgium-based cider maker, is now locked in a seven-week bidding war with Thai Beverage over Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries.

AB InBev in June struck a $20.1 billion deal to take over Mexico's Grupo Modelo, and its Brazilian unit, AmBev, agreed in April to buy a controlling stake in the Dominican Republic's Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (CND).

Craft, or small batch, beers, such as Magic Hat, have also been a bright spot in a U.S. beer market that has been in decline for three years as many drinkers have switched to wine or cocktails.

KPS declined to comment. UBS did not respond to a request for a comment.

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