Anheuser-Busch InBev, the owner of Budweiser and Stella Artois, has approached rival SABMiller about a takeover that could create one of the world’s biggest companies.
SABMiller revealed in a stock market statement that AB InBev had informed the drinks company it intends to make a takeover proposal, although no bid has yet been received.
Shares in SABMiller soared by more than 22% following the announcement, while AB InBev rose 11%.
The brewery industry has been awash with speculation about a major deal and City sources have long touted the prospect of AB InBev and SABMiller combining.
A combination of the brewers would create a company with a market value of about $250bn (£162bn). It would bring together Stella Artois and Budweiser with SABMiller’s brands, including Peroni, Grolsch and British craft beer Meantime.
SABMiller is listed in London and South Africa and employs 69,000 people around the world. AB InBev is listed in Brussels and New York.
In a statement, SABMiller said: “The board of SABMiller notes the recent press speculation and confirms that Anheuser-Busch 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. The board of SABMiller will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made.”
In response, AB InBev confirmed it had made an approach and said it wanted to work with SABMiller on a deal.
“AB InBev confirms that it has made an approach to SABMiller’s board of directors regarding a combination of the two companies,” it said. “AB InBev’s intention is to work with SABMiller’s board toward a recommended transaction.”
AB InBev’s brands
This article was written by Graham Ruddick, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 16th September 2015 11.12 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010