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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Interbrew Buys Bass

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Interbrew NV said Wednesday it would buy the beer unit of Britain's Bass PLC for pounds 2.3 billion ($3.46 billion) in cash, crowning the family-owned Belgian firm the world's No. 2 brewer.

The move boosts Interbrew with its flagship Stella Artois beer above arch-rival Heineken NV into second place in the world brewing stakes, behind U.S. Anheuser-Busch, said Interbrew chief executive Hugh Powell.

"It was an important transaction in a very important beer market," Powell said in a telephone interview. "At the same time Interbrew has a fine record of not overpaying." He said Interbrew remained on track for an initial public offering by the year's end.

In Russia, Interbrew's joint venture with Indian-owned Sun Brewing trades, Sun Interbrew, is the nation's No. 2 brewer. The venture has nine breweries in Russia and two in Ukraine.