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SABMiller Held Talks with Modelo, InBev: Source

Reuters
Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008 | 3:01 PM ET

SABMiller, the world's largest brewer, has held informal discussions with Grupo Modelo and InBev to explore options including a merger of Modelo and SABMiller, according to sources familiar with the situation.

AP

Discussions have included the possibility of SABMiller acquiring part or all of Modelo, in the event that InBev succeeds in its proposed $46.3 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch , the sources said.

Anheuser-Busch, the largest U.S. brewer, which owns 50 percent of Mexico's Modelo, has also held talks with Modelo about acquiring the other half, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

If Anheuser were to acquire the rest of Modelo, which analysts have valued at roughly $10 billion, InBev could be forced to raise its $65-per-share offer for Anheuser or even withdraw its bid.

Officials at SABMiller and Modelo declined to comment, while a spokesman for InBev could not immediately be reached.

A spokeswoman for Anheuser did not immediately offer comment.

A combination of InBev and Anheuser would overtake SABMiller as the world's largest brewer and could usher in more consolidation in the global beer industry.

SABMiller, which bought Dutch brewer Grolsch in February and is working to combine its U.S. operations with those of Molson Coors Brewing, has a history of growing through acquisitions.

Anheuser is known for its Budweiser brand, while Modelo is known for Corona.

SABMiller makes Miller Lite and Pilsner Urquell, while InBev makes Stella Artois and Beck's.

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