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Speculation circles around potential Heineken takeover of Boston Beer

It has not been a happy three years for Boston Beer, the craft brewer founded in the mid-1980s and which became a Wall Street favourite.

After riding high on the hard seltzer boom in the run up to the coronavirus, Boston and its shares fell from grace when it almost bet the ranch and lost on its Truly brand only to see demand hit the brakes leaving it to write off huge amounts of stock.

Speculation of a takeover of Boston has been triggered on Wall Street by analyst Nadine Sarwat of the Bernstein investment house.

She has suggested to clients that Heineken is running its eye over Boston because the existing market positions of brands such as Truly and Twisted Tea could fill a strategic hole in the armoury of the world’s third largest brewer.

While she does not believe a deal is imminent, she says such a move holds “strategic rationale for both parties.”

“Heineken have commented that they have a brand problem in the USA, not a scale problem, pointing out the spectacular success of Craft and FMBs. Whilst we agree with their diagnosis, we do see a potentially attractive logic to buying Boston Beer.. “It would be a modest bolt-on for the group, but transformative for its US business.”

She added that the Boston-based brewer could become “an innovation hub” for the company in the US and perhaps even globally.

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