The world's largest brewer AB InBev has approached SABMiller with a takeover offer, the companies have announced. In a statement responding to long-running press speculation of a bid that would create a $250bn (£161bn) company, SABMiller confirmed that AB InBev has made its intention to make an offer clear, although it underlined that no offer has been received.
"There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms on which any offer might be made," the company stated, adding that it urges shareholders to refrain from taking any action. However, both companies' share price jumped shortly after the news, which comes as no surprise considering the merged company would hold the majority of market share.
AB InBev's domestic market share is more than 21%, while SABMiller holds around 10%, meaning the merged company would hold a market share of almost a third, a far cry from runner-up Heineken, which holds a mere 9% in market share.
The merged company would produce 1/3 of the world's beer, according to reports.
Because of its significance, the merger is likely to bring forward several regulatory problems, although neither the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) nor the European Commission could confirm any actions taken because of the early stages of the process.
AB InBev's owns Stella Artois, Budweiser, Corona, Brahma, Boddingtons and reknowned Belgium beers Leffe, Hoegaarden, Lowenbrau and Bass. SABMiller's brands are Grolsch, Peroni, Fosters, Miller, Meantime, Lech, Blue Moon and Castle.
Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, stated: "As the craft movement is coming of age and solidifies its position as a key disruption force within beer and the entire alcohol industry, corporate consolidation can perhaps provide some last drops of stock market intoxication."
The merger talks come just a week after rival Heineken announced it has bought a 50% stake in US craft beer firm Lagunitas. The Dutch headquartered company rejected a takeover offer by SABMiller in 2014.