Stella Artois and Budweiser brewer AB-InBev finally completed its tie-up with UK drinks giant SABMiller last night, combining to form the world’s biggest brewer in a £79bn merger.
The new company, which will continue to trade under AB InBev’s name, will have operations “in virtually every major beer market”.
The newly-merged company will be headquartered in Brussels and over the next couple of years SABMiller’s UK presence is expected to be “significantly impacted”. Around 3% of the combined workforce could lose their jobs as a result of the tie-up.
The enlarged group – which will produce almost a third of the world’s beer – will take the AB InBev name.
The deal was agreed last year, but in July AB InBev was forced to raise its offer following a fall in the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote. AB InBev increased its offer by £1 a share to £45 a share. Shareholders and regulators agreed to the sale last month.
AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said: “We are committed to driving long-term growth and creating value for all our stakeholders.”
SABMiller counts Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, and Grolsch among its stable of brands, while AB InBev produces Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, and Beck’s.
However, to get the deal past the regulators, AB InBev has already agreed to sell SABMiller’s Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands to Tokyo-based drinks company Asahi.
The takeover is expected to boost AB InBev’s prospects in developing markets in Africa and China, where a SABMiller joint venture produces Snow, the world’s best selling beer by volume.