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SABMiller-ABInBev Merger Means 1 In 3 Beers Sold Are Theirs

SABMiller-ABInBev Merger Means 1 In 3 Beers Sold Are Theirs

A long-anticipated deal between the world’s two biggest beer producers, SABmiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev, will capitalize on Africa’s growing market and mean that one in three beers sold on Earth profit a single company, Fin24 reports.

Belgium-based InBev, the maker of Budweiser, agreed tentatively to buy U.K-based SABMiller for $103.50 billion — an industry record — giving InBev exposure to emerging markets in Africa and Latin America, along with control of about half the industry’s profits.

InBev’s brands include Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois. SABMiller produces Pilsner, Peroni and Grolsch, BBC reports.

Combined, AB InBev and SABMiller will have a major presence in Africa, the U.S., China, Europe and Latin America, selling more than 30 percent of the world’s beer, WallStreetJournal reported.

Founded during Johannesburg’s late 19th-century gold rush, SABMiller’s has about 40 brands in Africa. Their growth is one of the main reasons InBev wants this merger, said Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev. Africa is a “key piece” of the deal, he said.

AB InBev’s brands are concentrated mainly in Europe and the Americas.

All the major brewing companies have their eyes on Africa’s growing middle class, BBC reported. As African beer drinkers have become more prosperous in the last two decades, they moved away from the informal home-brewing market and started buying branded beer.

SABMiller, with its presence in Africa, would give AB InBev a launchpad for its beers in markets where it has virtually no presence, WallStreetJournal reported. Consumption in developed markets has slowed so much that the global beer market is expected to go into negative territory this year for the first time in 30 years, falling by 0.1 percent, according to industry tracker Plato Logic. The bulk of global growth is expected to come from Africa with 2.6 percent gains.


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AB InBev has 155,000 employees and global revenues of more than $47 billion. SABMiller has almost 70,000 employees in more than 80 countries, and global annual sales of more than $26 billion.

So how big will the new company be?

It will have the No. 1 or No. 2 position in 24 of the world’s 30 biggest beer markets, according to Exane BNP Paribas analysts, Fin24 reports.

Combined, AB InBev and SABMiller will be the world’s largest consumer-staples company by earnings. The new company is expected to make an estimated $25 billion in 2016 before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

Here’s BBC’s breakdown of global market share of the five largest beer companies from Euromonitor, based on 2014 figures: AB InBev – 20.8 percent; SABMiller – 9.7 percent; Heineken – 9.1 percent; Carlsberg – 6.1 percent; and China Resources Enterprise – 6 percent.

The deal followed years of speculation and four previous bid attempts. It made sense as economies slowed in emerging markets of China and Brazil. SABMiller shares dropped 20 percent in the months preceding AB InBev’s approach, Fin24 reported.

The purchase price is 46 percent higher than SABMiller’s closing value on Sept. 15, according to Fin24.

The companies have until Oct. 28 to formalize the deal. The new company will be incorporated in Belgium.

The takeover would be the largest in U.K. history, exceeding this year’s Royal Dutch Shell’s $71.51-billion purchase of BG Group. It would be the biggest deal of 2015, already a bumper year for deal making, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, Fin24 reports.

But first AB InBev must get regulatory approval for the deal, which is expected to face antitrust scrutiny around the world, WallStreetJournal reported.

The biggest regulatory hurdle is likely come from the crucial U.S. market, where AB InBev already has about 45-percent market share and SABMiller controls another 25 percent through its MillerCoors joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Co. AB InBev had to restructure its $20.1-billion acquisition of Mexican brewing giant Grupo Modelo SAB in 2013 after the U.S. Justice Department sued to block the deal, according to WallStreetJournal.

China could also be a regulatory headache. AB InBev had 14-percent market share there in 2014, according to Euromonitor. China could make the brewer exit SABMiller’s joint venture with China Resources Enterprise Ltd., which controls 23 percent of the market and produces the top-selling Snow brand.