A Brazilian daily reports that Anheuser-Busch and InBev, the two largest brewing companies in the world, have held prelimary merger talks.
Not surprisingly, neither company is commenting.
“We do not comment on market speculation,” said Gwendoline Ornigg, InBev’s director of corporate external communications.
Anheuser-Busch echoed that, saying it was the company’s policy “to not confirm, deny or speculate on reports of potential investments, acquisitions, mergers, new business partnerships or other transactions.”
Industry analysts offered differing views on whether the deal might happen and how, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It is “still too early to discern potential deal structure” or who would run the combined company if the report is true, Banc of America Securities analyst Bryan Spillane wrote in a research note.
Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Greenberg wrote that “the economic rationale (for a merger) is not obvious,” given the high cost of combining the two.
The two companies have done business together more than once. Anheuser-Busch just became the exclusive U.S. importer of Inbev SA’s beers, including Beck’s, Bass and Stella Artois. Last May, Anheuser-Busch bouhgt InBev’s Rolling Rock beer brand and last February said it would be the sole U.S. distributor of the European beer Grolsch.