Today’s infographic is an interesting one, created by NPR. Entitled Two Beer Companies, 210 Brands, it shows all of the beer brands owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller across the globe. Below the map, there’s also a list of brands by country, color-coded by which beer giant owns or controls them. How accurate is it? Hard to say. It doesn’t appear to include line extensions, which would balloon the chart to many times its current size, but glancing at the list for the United states, it looks like it may be missing some, though to be fair I didn’t do a line by line comparison.
You’ll no doubt recall the Interwebs were lit up last week with the idea of an Anheuser-Busch InBev merger with SABMiller, which was started by Credit Suisse analysts engaging in speculation. While there were some reports to the contrary, the two mega-beer companies were not in talks.
Yesterday, apparently Credit Suisse followed-up their report by saying, after fueling such a flurry of speculation, that “nobody in our diverse pool of responders indicated that we are off the mark.” They further suggest that ABI “could come knocking” on SABMiller’s door before the end of this year.
As usual, there’s more to it, such as stakes in Grupo Modelo are part of the equation. You can read more about those at Beer Business Daily, which again I heartily recommend that everyone get a subscription to Harry’s newsletter.
London’s Sunday Times is giving credence to the rumors and is reporting that SABMiller is seriously considering buying Carlton & United Breweries from the Foster’s Group, the makers of Foster’s, for $10.9 billion.
Earlier this year the Foster’s Group announced that next year that they would split their wine and beer divisions, and rumors began of potential buyers. Since SABMiller already owns the rights to Foster’s in the U.S. and India, speculation naturally centered on them, and now it looks likely they will make a bid for it. This would also give SABMiller Australia’s best-selling beer, Victoria Bitter, and a stronger presence throughout southeast Asia.
Several sources are pointing out a Reuters interview last week with Peter Swinburn, head of MolsonCoors. In that interview, Swinburn suggests that while he considers his company to be a “buyer,” he doesn’t discount the notion that MolsonCoors could be a takeover target. He further remarked that “SABMiller, Molson’s partner in the MillerCoors joint venture, would be a natural fit as a buyer.” While going on to say he doesn’t believe that will happen, this is, after all, how these types of things begin. A rumor that’s denied and discounted by all involved parties becoming a reality is nothing new, so you never know. Currently SABMiller is the 2nd largest global beer company and MolsonCoors in sixth. Though a merger wouldn’t eclipse A-B InBev at the top spot, it would move them closer together. Only time will tell.