Rumours of a potential deal between Anheuser-Busch InBev and Coca-Cola sends InBev’s shares lower

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s shares fell 1.85% on Monday after news broke that the brewer might have its eyes set on acquiring Coca-Cola.

The world’s largest brewer, which last month finalized the acquisition of  SABMiller, its closest rival in a $103bn deal might yet be seeking its next acquisition target, according to a report in London’s Sunday Telegraph. Carlos Brito, AB InBev’s CEO is said to be setting its sights on Coca-Cola, a company with a market capitalization of $176bn, which would provide a big bonus payday for AB InBev’s top managers.

AB InBev’s intraday trading U.S.-listed stock declined $4.26 or 4%, at $101.80, while Coke’s stock fell flat.

This won’t be the first time Coca-Cola has been rumoured as a takeover target of AB InBev. PepsiCo has also been mentioned as a possible takeover target in the past.

According to the Telegraph, under a so-called “2020 Dream Incentive Plan,” which the brewer has previously disclosed in U.S. regulatory filings, about 65 of the company’s senior management can share in a bonus if its “ambitious growth target” of $100bn in annual revenue is reached by year 2020. A deal for Coke, which had annual revenue last year of $44.3bn, would likely put AB InBev’s annual revenue over the $100bn target.

The bonus pool in four years would stand at $350 million, meaning if it were equally distributed among the execs it would equal more than $5 million apiece, according to the Telegraph.

Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch InBev declined to comment for this report.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s closing of SABMiller deal last month led Coca-Cola to terminate bottling agreements with SABMiller (now AB InBeV controlled Coke bottlers) in more than a dozen markets. A merger with Coke could reverse the move and help produce global synergies and cost savings for the two companies, according to analysts.

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