(Bloomberg) -- Kirin Holdings Co., Japan’s second-largest beverage company by market value, is considering selling its 40% stake in a joint venture with state-owned China Resources Holdings Co., people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The Tokyo-based company is in discussions with the Chinese conglomerate and reviewing potential buyers for its stake in China Resources C’estbon Beverage (China) Co., which could fetch about $1 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. 

The asset could get new Chinese investors as part of a mixed-ownership program the government is encouraging, the people said. Deliberations are ongoing and details such as timing and the size of the deal could still change, the people said. 

A representative for Kirin declined to comment, while China Resources didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Kirin’s proposed move, reported by Nikkei earlier, follows Japanese rival Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.’s exit from its investment in Tsingtao Brewery Co. in 2017. Asahi sold its 20% holding in China’s third-largest brewer to local conglomerate Fosun Group for about $941 million. 

Kirin bought the 40% stake in the non-alcoholic beverage venture for about $400 million in 2011, according to a filing at the time. The joint venture largely focuses on the bottled-water business under China Resources’ major brand “C’estbon.”

CR C’estbon also produces bottled tea products under the “Afternoon Milk Tea” and “Afternoon Black Tea” brands as well as “Fire” coffee products, its website shows. 


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