SYDNEY (AP) -- Kirin Holdings Co., Japan's biggest drinks maker, has offered to pay $2.5 billion for the 54 percent of Australian brewer Lion Nathan Ltd. it doesn't already own, stepping up efforts to boost overseas earnings as domestic sales flag.
Under the deal, Tokyo-based Kirin will buy the shares at 12.22 Australian dollars ($8.76) each, made up of AU$11.50 in cash and another 72 cents in dividends, Sydney-based Lion Nathan said in a statement Monday.
The offer values Lion Nathan, the brewer of Tooheys and Hahn beers, at AU$6.5 billion ($4.7 billion), and is a 49 percent premium to Lion's average share price over the past three months.
"We believe this is a very attractive outcome for Lion Nathan's non-Kirin shareholders," Lion Nathan chairman Geoff Ricketts said in the statement. "It is a compelling offer at a significant premium to Lion Nathan's share price."
The move represents another step in Kirin's ambitions to expand and diversify its global operations. Growth in Japan's food and beverage sector has been sluggish, with a shrinking population eroding the customer base. The company hopes to raise its overseas sales ratio to 30 percent by 2015.
In February, Lion Nathan -- which also brews Steinlager, Speights and other beers in New Zealand -- scrapped a AU$7.6 billion Kirin-backed bid to takeover the Australian unit of The Coca-Cola Company after Coca-Cola rejected the price as too low.
Kirin also announced plans in February to buy a 43 percent take in the brewery unit of Philippine food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp.