The world's largest brewer is considering a bid to take over its closest competitor in an effort to bolster its holdings in emerging markets, according to reports.
A combined Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller would have a market value of about $275 billion and would make about one-third of the world's beer supply.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, based in Belgium, makes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, while the U.K.'s SABMiller owns Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell.
Although AB InBev is dominant in Latin America, observers said the company likely hopes to make inroads in Africa, another fast-growing beer market.
"The real attraction is Africa, where AB InBev has no presence, as well as some add-ons in Asia and Latin America," analyst Andrew Holland told Reuters.
Details of the offer were not disclosed, but reports indicated that the price tag could go far beyond SABMiller's current $75 billion market capitalization — possibly as high as $130 billion.
AB InBev said that its takeover approach wouldn't necessarily lead to a formal offer, while SABMiller responded that its board "will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made."
The transaction would also need to clear antitrust regulators, particularly in the U.S., where AB InBev controls about half the beer market and MillerCoors — a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors — trails with nearly 30 percent.
Still, in addition to combining their efforts in emerging markets, the proposal would offer significant opportunities for cost savings in the companies’ distribution networks.
The trio of Brazilian investors behind 3G Capital, which helped build AB InBev into a global behemoth, are also behind a series of large-scale transactions and cost-cutting initiatives across the food industry — most recently the merger of Heinz and Kraft.