Japan. Asahi Europe appoints head of legal from SABMiller as brewing deal finalises

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Following its acquisition of SABMiller’s well-known European beer brands, Asahi Europe has appointed the brewer’s group senior counsel commercial Edward Perks as its head of legal and company secretary.

asahiJapanese beer giant Asahi made a €2.55bn bid to acquire SABMiller’s brands such as Peroni and Grolsch in February as SABMiller completes its mega-merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev).

Newly-appointed Perks has one direct report, a legal counsel working alongside him, and works closely with the existing legal teams for Peroni and Grolsh. He had been at SABMiller for more than four years, joining from Hogan Lovells.

Only a month after the acquisition was finalised, Perks is yet to choose the company’s lead advisers but Allen & Overy remains a preferred choice. The Magic Circle firm advised Asahi on the SABMiller divestment, is its largest acquisition to date, with a team led by corporate partner Richard Hough. London employment partner Sarah Henchoz, banking partner Trevor Borthwick, transitional services partner Jim Ford, antitrust partner Alasdair Balfour and tax partner Lydia Challen also worked on the deal.

Perks told Legal Business: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity to be involved in a company that’s a mixture of a start-up with fantastic brands and assets being brought together. We’re setting up and doing things for the first time. There’s a huge amount of energy here, particularly on the back of a very lengthy divestment process.’

Perks’ move comes as it was revealed SABMiller’s general counsel John Davidson will stand down when the merger is complete, following a review by AB InBev with up to 35 staff in the UK-based legal team to be made redundant.

Those affected include company secretary and deputy GC Stephen Shapiro, who is responsible for managing the internal commercial legal function; deputy GC for M&A, Stephen Jones; and deputy GC for regulatory and industry affairs, John Fraser, who devises and implements global regulatory strategies for the company.