After multiple offers, Anhesuer-Busch (AB) InBev has reached a $106 billion takeover deal with SABMiller. AB InBev, owner of Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, will now become the controlling player in the international beer market after the purchase of SABMiller, owner of Miller Lite, Peroni, and Fosters. As a result of the merger, the newly created company will hold about 30% of the global beer market share. The $106 billion deal is atop the record charts for beer acquisitions and is one of the highest-dollar corporate takeovers in history. AB InBev and SABMiller’s combination sets the stage for many shifts in the international beer market.
One of the reasons for the consolidation is a shift in beer drinkers' preferences to craft beer. The majority of craft beer is coming from independent breweries, which are separate from the global firms. AB InBev and SABMiller have both taken a hit from this shift, but this takeover helps to gain a grasp on high growth markets, such as Africa and Asia, in an important geographic play for the companies.
This geographic strategy, setting up a presence in emerging economies, was one of the draws for AB InBev to merge with SABMiller. The coverage AB InBev will now get in these emerging markets, particularly Africa, will help the company drive future growth. Beer drinkers in Africa have started to prosper over the last 20 years, moving away from the traditional home-brewing market and towards branded beer, generating over one quarter of SABMiller’s revenue during 2014. Many other emerging regions such as Asia, Central America, and South America have high growth potential in the beer market as well. The takeover of SABMiller puts AB InBev right where it needs to be in order to take full advantage of emerging growth opportunities.
Experts do not believe this deal will have much of an impact on the craft beer industry in the United States, since they operate in a different scope. It will however, shape the global market of craft beer. The combined business of AB InBev and SABMiller would have access to a massive international distribution network, a crucial determinant of success in the beer world. Craft brewers' international sales volume increased by 35.7% during 2014, but the merge of SABMiller with AB InBev could hamper the expansion of many craft brewers internationally. The consolidation may be creating some kind of a monopoly, which in turn, could have a serious influence on the international economy and beer market overall, making it harder for smaller operations to find shelf space or tap handles.