AB InBev, SABMiller formalize $108bn merger deal

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AB InBev, the number one beer company in the world by volume has formally agreed to buy SABMiller, the number two for £71.4bn ($107.7bn), in a deal that will create a behemoth that will make about 30 percent of all beers sold world-wide.

As part of the merger, SABMiller has agreed to sell its stake in a U.S. joint-venture, MillerCoors, to its partner, Molson Coors Brewing Co, which holds the remaining stake plus MillerCoors’ international portfolio for $12bn.

The MillerCoors spin-off is dependent on the completion of AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller.

AB InBev has indicated that it would seek to list its shares on several stock exchanges – Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Brussels, Mexico and in New York.

“By pooling our resources we would build one of the world’s leading consumer-products companies,” said AB InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito.

“Our joint portfolio of complementary global and local brands would provide more choices for beer drinkers in new and existing markets around the world,” he said.

The combined companies will bring AB InBev brands such as Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois together with SABMiller’s Grolsch, Peroni, Trophy, and Hero Lager, among others, and give the merged company a major presence in all regions of the world (U.S., China, Europe, Africa and Latin America).

AB InBev said it expects to save at least $1.4bn in pretax cost savings a year by the end of the fourth year, in areas like sourcing, packaging, bottling and eliminating overlapping headquarters, after the deal is finalized.

However, AB InBev still has to gain regulatory approval from other countries like China, where the two brewers have major stakes, U.S., EU, South Africa, Australia and India.

There is also the issue of resolving competing soft drink bottling operations for rivals, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which both companies own.

The merger is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2016.

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