The world's two biggest beer makers have joined forces. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the top brewer by sales and producer of Stella Artois and Budweiser, has agreed a £68bn takeover of UK-listed SABMiller, whose brands include Peroni and Grolsch. SABMiller succumbed to AB InBev's fifth offer, creating a new group dubbed "Megabrew" that will sell one pint of every three served in the world.
What the commentators said
With consumption flat in developed markets, Africa has huge potential: people still only drink an average of 8.8 litres of beer a year. In Europe the figure is 55. Still, tapping the market isn't straightforward. Local moonshines remain popular as they're cheaper and stronger than beer. Half of all alcohol drunk in Africa is illegal, estimates the World Health Organisation.
Africa is "where the deal will stand or fall", agreed BreakingViews.com'sRobert Cole. AB InBev will have to spend heavily on marketing and infrastructure. That will require CEO Carlos Brito to "show some new skills". His speciality is cost cutting which, of course, is also required to make the deal stack up.
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SABMiller executives will certainly do well out of this deal, said James Moore in The Independent. "The losers will be just about everyone else." Many employees are in for the chop and customers will lose choice. Then again, "in terms oftaste the difference between one industrially produced lager and another" amounts to little. "Try a craft beer tonight," said Alistair Osborne inThe Times. "They're better anyway."
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