Look out, Bud

Interbrew, AmBev 'combination' could make them No. 1 in volume

Mar 3, 2004 - Belgium's Interbrew of Belgium and AmBev of Brazil plan to merge in a complicated stock deal that the companies value at about $11.4 billion. This would create the world's largest brewer by volume. The new firm, InterbrewAmbev, would have a global market share of approximately 14% with combined revenue of $11.9 billion with brands including Beck's, Stella Artois and Brahma.


Although Interbrew ends up with 57% of AmBev, which gets Interbrew's Canadian subsidiary Labatt in return, the companies refused to call it a takeover or even a merger.

"The word 'combination' says it best," said Interbrew spokeswoman Marianne Amssoms, noting that the two companies will have four seats each on the new InterbrewAmbev board, alongside six independent directors.

"We'll still end up with two very separate publicly traded companies but where we can look for opportunities to run them together, that's what we'll do," Interbrew chief executive John Brock said in remarks released by Interbrew.

InterbrewAmBev will be headquartered in Leuven and traded on the Brussels exchange, while AmBev will continue to be a publicly traded company on the Brazilian and the New York stock exchange.

The "combination" creates the largest beer maker in the world by volume, the companies said. It would be No. 2 by revenue behind industry leader, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, which had sales of $14.1 billion in 2003.

Both companies have expanded rapidly through acquisitions in recent years, and Interbrew is keen on winning a bigger foothold in emerging markets where beer consumption is rising. AmBev was created in 2000 by the merger of Brazilian brewing giants Antarctica Paulista and Brahma.

Interbrew, one of the world's oldest beer companies, sells 200 brands in 120 countries, including Stella Artois, Beck's, Leffe, Bass Ale, Rolling Rock, Spaten and Labatt Blue.

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