Asahi buying soft drinks maker Calpis for $1.5 billion

Japanese brewer Asahi is to buy soft drinks group Calpis for about 120 billion yen ($1.5 billion), the largest of a string of deals by the company to offset a declining domestic beer market with new sources of revenue.

Calpis, known for its milky drinks popular with Japanese children, will make Asahi Japan’s No.3 non-alcoholic beverage maker. The deal highlights the pressures in the country’s crowded beverage sector where players are fighting for pieces of a shrinking market.

Asahi and other Japanese brewers such as Kirin Holdings have been on an acquisition spree overseas to combat Japan’s declining population, uncertain economic prospects and deflation.

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