Moves are afoot to unite the world’s two biggest producers of beer.
Anheuser-Busch InBev – which makes Budweiser and Stella Artois – says it intends to make an offer for rival SABMiller – owners of Peroni – creating a company that would control about half the industry’s profit.
Shares in SABMiller soared on the news, up by over 20 percent – the biggest rise since the company first listed – boosting its value to $93 billion (82.5 billion euros).
Last year SABMiller failed in a move to take over Heineken.
If it is now acquired by AB InBev it would be the biggest takeover in the brewing industry’s history.
No formal offer was immediately made. AB InBev said it wanted to work with its rival’s board towards a “recommended transaction”.
Such a move has been anticipated amid a slowdown in beer markets such as the US and Europe, as drinkers switch to craft brews or wine – or simply drink less alcohol.