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Market marches up amid M&A murmurings

SABMiller was in the spotlight as analysts at Credit Suisse suggested that the brewer of Peroni and Grolsch could be targeted by brewing giant, AB Inbev. This Belgian behemoth - which brews Budweiser and Stella Artois - was formed over two years ago when Inbev bought Anheuser-Busch. Credit Suisse scribblers reckon another mega-merger could be in the offing. The reason being, they argue, is that a "moribund" American beer market could compel the two companies to join forces.
"We believe the continuing ills of the US domestic beer market - faltering brands, shrinking per capita consumption, competition from wine and spirits - may force AB Inbev's hand to make another acquisition after the cost cutting is complete and the company's balance sheet has deleveraged post the [Anheuser-Busch] transaction," analysts wrote.
"In this scenario, we think SABMiller would be the most natural merger partner as SAB would provide strong management talent and a robust emerging markets footprint."
As Credit Suisse point out, there have been suggestions before that Inbev and SAB could merge. Before the 2008 deal, there were reports that Inbev could make a play for SAB if its Anheuser-Busch bid was not successful.
3 Feb. 2011

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