AB InBev makes SABMiller takeover approach

September 17 00:24 2015

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) confirmed on Wednesday that it has approached rival SABMiller (SBMRF) about a takeover, a potential move that would combine the world’s two biggest beer makers and mark the biggest shakeup in the industry in nearly a decade amid a growing craft beer expansion.

The deal, which would create a $245 billion global company, would trigger an intense antitrust review. But if finalized, it would lead to some of the world’s most iconic beers — AB InBev makes Budweiser and SABMiller brews Miller Lite — coming under one roof. AB InBev also brews Corona, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Skol. SABMiller’s roster of beers include Aguila, Peroni, and Pilsner Urquell. AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer based on sales, said it intends to work with SABMiller’s board of directors on completing the deal.

“There can be no certainty that this approach will result in an offer or agreement, or as to the terms of any such agreement,” the Belgium-based multinational said in a statement. “A further statement will be made as appropriate.” SABMiller, headquartered in London, said in a statement that no proposal has been received and the board has no further details about any terms. AB InBev must announce a firm intention by Oct. 14.

The companies had not notified the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division or the European Commission’s competition office about the potential deal as of Wednesday. DOJ spokesman Peter Carr and EC spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment. One potential holdup to the takeover could be that SABMiller holds a 58% stake in MillerCoors, the brewer of Coors Light and Molson Canadian. Molson Coors, the Denver-based company that owns the rest of the stake in MillerCoors, has the right to increase its stake in the company if SABMiller is taken over.  The deal could also face scrutiny in China where SABMiller co-owns the Beijing-based CR Snow, the nation’s largest brewery.