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AB InBev cheers SABMiller takeover in ‘Megabrew’ deal

One of many SABMiller products. SABMiller has been bought out

London, United Kingdom | AFP | 

Belgian-Brazilian brewer AB InBev savoured its status as the global leader in the beer industry after investors approved Wednesday its buyout of British rival SABMiller.

Shareholders in SABMiller — currently the producer of Foster’s, Grolsch and Peroni lagers — overwhelmingly approved $103-billion (92-billion-euro) takeover from the maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.

The announcement came hours after AB InBev investors also backed the fourth largest merger in global corporate history that tops a decade of consolidation in the world’s beer sector.

The new company will be called AB InBev, sounding the death knell of the SABMiller name whose chequered history dates back to the late nineteenth century, while its headquarters will be in Belgium.

The blockbuster deal — nicknamed Megabrew by analysts — cements AB InBev’s dominant position as the world’s top beer-maker.

“The Megabrew deal between AB InBev and SAB Miller has been overwhelmingly approved,” said David Cheetham at London-based brokerage XTB.

“There’s clear synergies to be achieved through this merger and the new company will see the combined group account for one in four beers sold worldwide,” he told AFP.

“AB InBev was already the largest brewer globally, and if the deal goes through in the coming weeks as is expected, the firm can look forward to laying claim to almost half of the industry’s profits.”

Anna Ward, alcoholic drinks analyst at London-based consultancy Euromonitor International, described the deal as “the culmination of over a decade of consolidation within the beer industry”.

She added: “With an estimated 27-percent share of the beer market and a significant presence in all regions, the combined company will be genuinely global.

Ward also noted that SABMiller’s strength in the emerging markets of Africa addressed a previous weakness in AB InBev’s profile, while the merger will make it easier to roll out flagship beers in areas not yet reached.

“In light of the slowdown in key markets such as Brazil, extending the reach of its flagship global brands will undoubtedly remain a priority for AB InBev.”

The blockbuster deal is now set for completion on October 10.

“AB InBev shareholders expressed their support for the combination by passing all resolutions that were proposed in connection with the combination,” a short statement from the Belgium-based brewer said on Wednesday.

SABMiller added separately that “resolutions proposed in connection with the recommended acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev … were passed” by its investors.

List of the top five mergers (page 2)

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