By Andy Young and Annette Shailer
AB InBev is close to lining up the banks it needs to finance its proposed takeover of SABMiller, according to reports from Bloomberg.
The news agency has claimed that a takeover proposal will come as soon as the financing is in place. A number of banks are reportedly keen to be part of the lucrative deal and have offered AB InBev more than US$50 billion of debt in order to make the takeover.
As news of the takeover gathered momentum at the end of last week, it has also been reported that AB InBev approached Altria about the move. Cigarette manufacturer Altria also owns around 27 per cent of SABMiller and told AB InBev that it was “open to considering a proposal” depending on the terms.
All three parties, Altria, AB InBev and SABMiller, declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.
As expected in a deal which would see the world’s two largest brewers join together, interest is growing and analysts have suggested that AB InBev would have to pay between GBP40-45 per SABMiller share. According to Reuters that share valuation would put the overall price for AB InBev of around US$130 billion, including SABMiller’s debt.
What does this mean for brands in Australia?
Should the takeover bid be successful, it is unclear at this stage what that will mean for local distribution rights for brands such as Corona, Australia’s fourth-biggest selling beer, which is currently distributed in Australia by Lion.
Lion won the local rights to the brand three years ago after SABMiller purchased then rights-holder Foster’s for $12 billion.
If AB InBev’s takeover bid of SABMiller to create a $382bn beer behemoth is successful, a number of international beers such as Corona, Stella Artois and Beck’s may well be reshuffled to align with the mega-merger.