Heineken toasts Mexico with Femsa beer purchase

HEINEKEN will buy the beer business of Mexico’s FEMSA in a $5.7bn (£3.5bn) all-stock deal that boosts the Dutch brewer’s emerging-markets presence and cements an alliance with one of Latin America’s biggest drinks firms.

Heineken, the world’s third-largest brewer, yesterday said the all-stock purchase would make FEMSA its second largest shareholder -- with a 20 per cent stake -- and give it access to the boardroom.

The deal is competitively priced and broadens Heineken’s access to higher-growth markets, analysts said. FEMSA shares slid 12.5 per cent on disappointment over the deal price after brewer SABMiller pulled out of the auction. SAB is believed to be uninterested in FEMSA’s Brazil operations.

FEMSA, which started as a brewer and ice maker in 1890, is the world’s second-biggest Coca-Cola bottler, and sells the soft drink in nine Latin American countries. CEO Jose Antonio Fernandez, is a Formula 1 enthusiast.