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A-B InBev Approaches SABMiller About Merger

LONDON — Anheuser-Busch InBev has confirmed its interest in acquiring SABMiller in a deal that would unite the world's largest brewers.

In response to growing speculation, SABMiller's board of directors confirmed that A-B InBev has informed SABMiller that it intends to make a proposal to acquire the beverage company. However, according to SABMiller, it has not yet received a proposal and the board of SABMiller has no further details about the terms of any such proposal.

SABMiller added its board "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."

According to The Associated Press, the combined company would have a market capitalization of some $275 billion and be the largest brewer in the world. That could potentially draw objections from regulators worried the deal might stifle competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

"AB InBev's intention is to work with SABMiller's board toward a recommended transaction," the Leuven, Belgium-based company said in a statement. "There can be no certainty that this approach will result in an offer or agreement, or as to the terms of any such agreement."

Anheuser-Busch InBev is already the world's largest beer brewer.

London-based SABMiller is the second-largest brewing company in the world. The group's brand portfolio includes leading local brands such as Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (United States), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland), as well as global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch. 

A potential deal comes a year after SABMiller approached Heineken NV regarding a potential acquisition. However, after consulting with its majority shareholder, Heineken rejected SABMiller's proposal, as CSNews Online previously reported.

At that time, media reports indicated A-B InBev was talking to banks about financing a possible $122-billion deal to buy SABMiller. Citing a person familiar with the matter, Marketwatch said A-B InBev wasn't in active discussions with SABMiller but was waiting to line up its financing before making a formal approach. 


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