?Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings said Thursday it has come to an agreement to buy New Zealand’s leading ready-to-drink cocktail company, Independent Liquor, for $1.31bn from Pacific Equity Partners and Unitas Capital Pte.? ?

The brewer hopes to grow a stronger position in New Zealand and Australia, and aims to increase its overseas sales between 20 percent and 30 percent, the group said.? ?Asahi’s oversees sales currently account for 6.6 percent compared to the 23 percent of its competitor, Kirin Holdings. ? ?

The transaction, which is the largest ever by a Japanese company targeting the New Zealand market, is due to be completed by the end of September, according to a statement.? ?Japanese firms have been on a spending spree in foreign markets as domestic consumption decreases due to the nation’s shrinking and ageing public.

Food and beverage company, Suntory Holdings, announced on Wednesday it is to launch a new company to help drive Southeast Asian M&A’s.? ?The acquisition comes amid increased movement in the beverage sector which saw Australian brewer Foster’s ward off a $10bn hostile takeover bid SABMiller on Thursday.

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