A potential mega-merger between the world's two biggest brewers has thrown up some rather lucrative investment opportunities, according to a team of European equity analysts.
SABMiller and AB InBev agreed to a "pact in principle" on Tuesday, thus potentially creating a $100-plus billion merger that would shake the very foundations of the drinks industry. Shares of the UK-listed company rallied 9 percent on the news but still have significant upside in the coming months according to Rudy De Groodt, a senior equity specialist at BNP Paribas Fortis.
"Playing the SABMiller stock in anticipation of a successful closing deal could be an interesting low risk-high return opportunity for the coming six months," he told CNBC via email, calling it "some sort of free lunch" for investors.
SABMiller stock was trading at 3,979 pence at midday Thursday, well below the 4,400 pence of the cash bid logged by its Belgian rival turned suitor.
In a sign that the stock is attracting some major interest, the daily volume of its traded shares Tuesday was measured at over 15 million by Thomson Reuters. This is above a usual average of around 1 or 2 million on a normal day.
De Groodt said that he expected a formal bid to be launched very soon by AB InBev and predicted its shares to reach to offer price within in the next six months, a rise of over 10 percent. He also noted that the company had the potential to offer an extra 80 pence in dividends, thus pushing up the share price to a possible 4,480 pence.
Edward Mundy at Nomura and a team of equity analysts at the Japanese bank also see upside for SABMIller's stock. They maintained their "buy" rating on the brewer in a note on Tuesday. The beverage analyst also highlighted that the deadline for a formal offer from AB InBev could well be extended if no deal is reached in time.
Nomura is also bullish on AB InBev, as well as Molson Coors Brewing Company, which it expects it to benefit from the competition issues raised by the takeover and buy the 58 percent of the MillerCoors brand owned by SABMiller.
Outside of the financial world, the huge brewing merger - being called "megabrew" by pundits - hasn't been without a few raised eyebrows.
The California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) said Tuesday that it would "carefully review" any industry movement or change that might limit the growth, access to market or vibrancy of the craft brewing industry in California.
This came on the same day as Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter, that the U.S. Justice Department was probing allegations that AB InBev is seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying up distributors.
"In addition to its global interest in SABMiller, AB InBev's recent acquisitions in the manufacturing and distribution tiers in California have given rise to questions about the company's long-term intentions," Tom McCormick, executive director of the CCBA, said in a statement on Tuesday.