Anheuser-Busch InBev announced Wednesday it had reached a final agreement to purchase SABMiller for approximately $107.9 billion, creating a behemoth that will control nearly one third of the world’s beer supply. AB InBev floated the idea it was targeting SABMiller for a possible takeover in September. The companies reached an agreement in principle on October 13, though the deadline for a formal offer was extended twice.
As part of the deal, SABMiller agreed to sell Molson Coors its 58 percent economic interest and 50 percent voting interest in MillerCoors for $12 billion. Under the agreement, Molson Coors will acquire full ownership of the Miller brand portfolio outside the US and retain the rights to all MillerCoors brands in the US as well as the rights to the Miller brand name. AB InBev and SABMiller hope the transaction will help secure regulatory approval in the US, proving the new company doesn’t have a monopoly on the nation’s beer market. US Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights chairman, says the committee will examine how the proposed merger will impact consumers and competition across the country.
“We are excited about our agreement on the terms of the acquisition of SABMiller to build the world’s first truly global brewer,” says Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev. “We believe this combination will generate significant growth opportunities and create enhanced value to the benefit of all stakeholders. By pooling our resources, we will build one of the world’s leading consumer products companies, benefitting from the experience, commitment and drive of our combined global talent base. Our joint portfolio of complementary global and local brands will provide more choices for beer drinkers in new and existing markets around the world. Moreover, a combination of our two companies will allow us to make a greater and more positive impact on the communities in which we live and work, drawing on our shared commitment in this regard.”
AB InBev has its sights set on growing business in Asia and Africa, particularly the latter where the company seeks to take advantage of the existing SABMiller business, a growing middle class and expanding economic opportunities on the continent. “SABMiller has an unmatched footprint in fast-growing, developing markets, underpinned by our portfolio of iconic national and global brands,” says Jan du Plessis, chairman of SABMiller. “AB InBev’s offer represents an attractive premium and cash return for our shareholders and secures earlier delivery of our long-term value potential, which is why the board of SABMiller unanimously recommended accepting AB InBev’s offer.”
The combined company does not yet have a name and will be listed in Belgium, South Africa, Mexico and New York. According to AB InBev, the company expects to cut at least $1.4 billion in operational costs in the areas of packaging and bottling, among others, after the merger.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016. However, it must first be approved by regulators who will want to ensure a takeover does not prohibit fair competition.