(Bloomberg) – Anheuser-Busch InBev NV said it intends to make an offer to acquire SABMiller Plc in a deal that would unite the world’s two biggest beermakers and control about half the industry’s profit.
SABMiller gained 20 percent, boosting its market value to about 58 billion pounds ($90 billion), and AB InBev rose 6.4 percent. While no offer has yet been made, SABMiller is open to discussing a transaction with its bigger rival, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Both companies acknowledged the overture in public statements.
The acquisition of SABMiller would be the biggest in the industry’s history and cap more than a decade of consolidation across brewing companies. A potential combination of the beermakers had been seen as likely for years as they have limited geographical overlap and are not controlled by a family foundation like their main competitors, Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S.
“I’m glad to see this after the endless speculation of megabrew,” said Ross Colbert, an analyst at Rabobank International.
According to the average of five estimates of analysts compiled by Bloomberg, AB InBev may pay more than 4,200 pence for each share of its rival.