SABMiller shares have hit an all-time high on hopes a long-rumoured takeover bid by the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev may be getting closer. As Hayley Platt reports it followed news of SABMiller's interest in Heineken.
The day started with talk of one potential takeover in the brewery industry and ended with rumours of another. SAB Miller's shares rose 13% to an all time high, after reports that Anheuser-Busch InBev was trying to raise funds to buy its nearest rival for $122 billion. Earlier Heineken rejected an approach by SAB. The world's third largest brewer is still majority owned by the family who founded it. That's the way they want it to stay, for now anyway. Robert Cole is from Reuters Breakingviews. SOUNDBITE: Robert Cole, Assistant Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, saying (English): "I think they like being a family controlled company. And to be fair there are plenty of benefits for doing that. But there are clearly quite large anti-trust hurdles as well. There are very large hurdles in Europe, some in Asia, some in Africa as well." SAB has brewed its way from a small South African player to the world's no. 2. But things have been flat in Europe thanks to slow economies. Some emerging markets have also been dented by weak currencies. It wants the Dutch brewer to help change that and may not be deterred by a few regulatory challenges. SOUNDBITE: Robert Cole, Assistant Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, saying (English): "It's invented a string of deals over the last twenty years. So it's not going to have made this kind of approach unless it had serious intentions and new that the anti-trust issues were surmountable." But SAB may now have another set of challenges too. AB InBev is known for its aggressive merger strategy and it's got size advantage. Last year the US brewer had 20% of the global beer market - that's more than the combined total for UK-based SAB Miller and Dutch brewer Heineken.