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SABMiller edges higher on frothy talk of merger with ABInbev

SABMiller is bucking the downward trend at the moment, as vague talk swirls round the market about a possible merger with rival ABInbev.
SAB is up 7p at 1990.5p but there is some scepticism over the story. One broker said ABInbev had its own integration process to complete, while SAB has been linked with Fosters in Australia, but seems most keen to expand its presence in emerging markets, including Africa.
The latest talk could have come from a note this week from Collins Stewart, which said:
The acquisition of SABMiller, combining the two leading industry players, which we have long seen as the logical endgame for ABI, now looks to be feasible. We think ABI could and should bid, that it will have looked closely at doing so, and that making a move soon is strategically sensible.
SAB would have to weigh the option of recommending a bid very carefully. Buying Fosters brewing business in the
meantime appears a reasonable move, but risks drawing the bid from ABI.
Anti-trust issues are few, with the US and the soft drinks businesses being the main ones, and we think there are multiple solutions in all areas including China, where a stake could be offered to the Chinese in order to bring about the optimal solution in terms of asset retention.

16 Mar. 2011

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