SABMiller confirms potential takeover by AB InBev

SABMiller will announce by mid-October whether or not a takeover by AB InBev is taking place, confirming today that it has been approached by the world’s largest beer brewer.

SABMiller is the second largest beer brewer in the world, making brands like Coors Light and Peroni (Photo: SABMiller)

SABMiller is the second largest beer brewer in the world, making brands like Coors Light and Peroni (Photo: SABMiller)

While AB InBev has not yet made any formal takeover proposal, SABMiller has responded to press speculation about the potential acquisition that market analysts estimate could create a company worth US$250 billion (£162.2bn).

In a statement released on Wednesday (16 September), SABMiller said: “The board of SABMiller notes the recent press speculation and confirms that Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“AB InBev”) has informed SABMiller that it intends to make a proposal to acquire SABMiller.

“No proposal has yet been received and the board of SABMiller has no further details about the terms of any such proposal.”

SABMiller will deliver an announcement on the takeover by no later than 5:00pm on 14 October, by which time a formal proposal by AB InBev must be made, the company revealed.

“The Board of SABMiller will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made. There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” it said.

AB InBev is most famous for its Budweiser lager brand (Photo: AB InBev)

AB InBev is most famous for its Budweiser lager brand (Photo: AB InBev)

Shares in SABMiller, which brews global beer brands like Peroni and Coors Light, were up 19.8% after the statement was revealed, the Financial Times reports. Similarly, AB Inbev, brewer of brands like Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, witnessed a share price jump of 7.41%.

In the year ending 31 March 2015, SABMiller sold 324 million hectolitres of lager, soft drinks and other alcoholic beverages, with net revenues of $26.2bn and earnings before tax of $6.3 billion, making it the second largest brewer in the world behind AB InBev.

Speculative reports on the takeover have been going on for several years, but this is the first time an official statement has been made by either party on the matter.

A takeover could see the resulting company becoming the largest overall alcoholic drinks producer in the world, overtaking current market leader Diageo, which produces Johnnie Walker Scotch, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

Both SABMiller and AB InBev have recently been acquiring growing craft beer brands in an attempt to protect their respective market shares against the expansion of the craft category.

SABMiller’s purchase of the Saint Archer’s beer brand in San Diego last week and of the UK’s Meantime brewery in May were also thought to be part of a wider strategy to protect itself against a buyout. AB InBev has been more prolific in its craft buyouts, acquiring four brewers since 2011.

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