Brewing giant Heineken has flatly rejected an £82bn merger with industry rivals SABMiller as moves to consolidate the global beer industry gather pace.
The audacious move followed an earlier £27bn takeover bid tabled by SABMiller a fortnight ago which was also turned down by Heineken’s Dutch owners who are staunchly independent and resistant to losing control.
This led directly to the latest merger plan in which the Heineken family would become one of the largest shareholders of the new grouping, allowing them a degree of continued control.
Heineken said in a statement: “The Heineken family has informed SABMiller, HEINEKEN (sic) and Heineken Holding N.V. of its intention to preserve the heritage and identity of HEINEKEN as an independent company. The Heineken family and Heineken N.V.’s management are confident that the Company will continue to deliver growth and shareholder value.”
SAB, owner of the Foster’s, Pilsner and Urquell brands, has itself been rumoured as a likely takeover target by the likes of Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is best known for the likes of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.
This talk has seen SAB’s share price skyrocket by 46 per cent since February to hit £55bn.
Drinks producers are increasingly keen to consolidate their operations in order to minimise costs associated by distribution whilst maximising prices by leveraging their market share.