AB InBev, SABMiller rumors heat up

It seems like rumors that Anheuser-Busch InBev would manage a takeover of SABMiller started just about the time the ink dried on the deal in which InBev bought out Anheuser-Busch in 2008. But things have heated up of late, with new rumors everywhere.

The Wall Street Journal, and now others report that AB InBev has been talking with banks about financing a megadeal that could coast $122 billion. That would be considerably more than the $52 billion it cost InBev to acquire A-B.

AB InBev had a nearly 20% share of the global beer market in 2013, while SABMiller had 9.6% share and and Heineken 9.3%.

The Journal reported that although a tie-up between the world’s two biggest brewers would put control of nearly one-third of global beer supply with one company, analysts say antitrust issues aren’t insurmountable. AB InBev would likely have to sell SABMiller’s stakes in two joint ventures, MillerCoors in the U.S. and CR Snow in China. Until those matter are sorted out making lists of which brands the new brewing giant would control is pure conjecture.

AB InBev has a history of reshaping the beer industry with large-scale acquisitions. In 2004, Brazil’s AmBev and Belgium’s Interbrew merged to create the global No. 1 brewer by volume. Four years later, the new company bought Anheuser-Busch and became AB InBev. The AB InBev management team trimmed billions of dollars off those brewers’ annual operating costs, helping to pay off the large debt that AB InBev took on to finance the deals.