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05.2012

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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archivedOnBeerReport

MEGABREW RUMORS ABOUND

It’s the giant rumor that just won’t go away. For at least a year, the idea has been floating around that A-B InBev, having swallowed up Anheuser-Busch, could soon make a move to buy its biggest rival: SABMiller. The resulting behemoth – dubbed “MegaBrew” – would have a dominant share of beer sales in many major markets. It would also help A-B InBev tap developing countries in Africa and South America, where British-based SAB Miller is strong. But could a MegaBrew ever really happen and if it does, will it be with or without a fight? Neither A-B InBev or SAB Miller has spoken on the topic. In fact, most of the buzz has come from Wall Street analysts. Recently though, at Miller’s US wholesaler’s meeting, someone put the question to SAB Miller chief executive Graham Mackay. According to beer business daily, Mackay responded: “What can I say? I’ll tell you what I tell my shareholders who ask the same question. Look, they would have to write a very big check indeed, something north of $1OO billion and that’s a lot of money in anybody’s language. There’s a question of whether they can raise it in this environment. But it’s my job to make it very expensive for them.” So not really a “yes” but not exactly a “no”. But stranger things have happened.

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