BRUSSELS, Belgium—In a deal that would bring the brewing industry’s two largest players under one massive roof, pairing Budweiser and Corona with Fosters and Miller, Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced it has approached the board of SABMiller PLC to work toward a transaction, confirming long-running press reports and a statement from SABMiller.
No financial details of the potential merger have emerged, but the companies have said they will work with each other on the deal.
“The Board of SABMiller will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made,” the company said.
“There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms on which any offer might be made. In the interim, shareholders are strongly advised to retain their shares and to take no action,” it added.
The two companies had a combined market value of about US$245.5 billion at the close of trading Sept. 15. Any offer AB InBev makes is guaranteed to be the largest in the beer industry’s long history of consolidation.
The news has sent SABMiller shares up more than 20 per cent in London trading, bringing the company’s value to about 60 billion pounds, or more than $90 million.
The deal would greatly boost AB InBev’s presence in Africa and Asia, while shoring up the company’s already strong revenue stream in the wake of changing consumer tastes in Europe and North America. The craft beer movement as well as customers focusing more on their health has hit both companies’ bottom lines in recent years.