October 13, 2011

Colossal deal ?

There has been talk all over the internet financial and brewing sites lately of Anheuser-Busch Inbev (currently the worlds largest brewing company) making a mover to acquire SABMiller.
This deal would be huge, it would create a brewing juggernaut with sales on every continent (even Antarctica).
The acquisition is rumored to be priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 billion, and would become a reality somewhere around 2013. SABMiller's recent takeover of Australian brewer Foster's for $10 billion slowed down the acquisition.
The merger could spell trouble for ABInbev though, anti trust lawyers are rubbing their palms together in the U.S and China. The new company would likely have to sell off its recently acquired U.S holdings in Miller and Coors brewing companies as well as its control of Chinas CR Snow. ABInbev already has very large holdings in these markets so the selloff would only help.
Some think this deal is highly unlikely to end up going down due to the high price of the takeover. However, when Inbev acquired Anheuser-Busch that was the largest merger to ever take place so the company has shown that they are not afraid of large dollar takeovers.
The craft brewing community does not seem too worried about the impending acquisition. Ours in somewhat of a niche market and many people who drink craft beer are aware of who owns what and actively decide not to drink products owned by large multi national companies. It's not necessarily to say that all brands owned by these companies are producing sub par beer (ABInbev recently acquired Chicago craft brewery Goose Island) but many people working in the craft beer industry and supporting the craft beer industry would rather support their local brewery or a brewery that remains independent.
The numbers don't lie. The brewers association reports that in 2010 the craft brewing industry grew 11% by volume and 12% by dollars with 1,716 operating breweries, compare this to the U.S domestic beer industry which in 2010 was down 1% by volume. The craft brewing industry is rapidly approaching a 10% market share with the increase in a knowledgeable consumer who is looking for something more than a multi-national brewing conglomerate.

Here are some relevant links
Brands owned by SABMiller
Brands owned by ABInbev
Where I got my info

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