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Report: New Belgium shareholders approve Kirin's takeover bid

Employee-shareholders of Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing Co. Inc. have approved Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd.'s proposal to take over the company, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Dec. 18, without disclosing where it obtained the information.

The Japanese brewer plans to acquire New Belgium through its beverage unit Lion Pty. Ltd.

New Belgium employees, who own 100% of the company, reportedly gave their approval despite pressure from human rights groups to reject the deal due to Kirin's ties with military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., or MEHL, as well as its acquisition of Myanmar Brewery in 2015.

In August, the United Nations released a report that said MEHL's revenue was being channeled to the military, thereby allowing the armed group to crack down on Rohingya Muslims in the country. Kirin said it is taking steps to protect human rights across its operations, according to Nikkei.

Kirin initially expected to close the deal by the end of 2019, but according to the latest report, the Japanese company is now looking to complete it by the end of March 2020, subject to regulatory approvals.

New Belgium employs nearly 700 people and produces craft beer under Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA brands. Kirin expects the acquisition to help expand its craft beer portfolio in the U.S.

Kirin and New Belgium did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.