Thirsty Beer Brewers Eye Foster's; SABMiller May Make a Bid


The beer industry consolidation that began a few years ago doesn't seem to be over yet. London-based SABMiller (SBMRY) is mulling a 7 billion pound, or $10.9 billion, bid for Melbourne-based Foster's Group (FBRWY), according to reports. But SABMiller is not alone, Japan's Asahi Breweries (ASBRY) might also be interested.

Foster's, Australia's largest brewer, said in May it was splitting its wine and beer businesses. It has since been the subject of acquisition reports.

According to unidentified sources cited by Sunday Times of London, SABMiller, the world's No. 2 beer maker, is working on a deal to acquire Carlton & United Breweries, the beer-making part of Foster's, which accounts for about 85% of Foster's group earnings, according to MarketWatch. The beer maker has a market value of A$12.1 billion ($10.8 billion), according to Bloomberg.

A New No. 1?

SABMiller already owns the Foster's brand in India and holds the U.S. brewing rights. Foster's is best known for its Foster's Lager. SABMiller is known for such brands as Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Lite, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell.

If SABMiller acquired Foster's, it could challenge Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) as the world's largest brewer. Back in 2008, InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion, propelling it ahead of SABMiller to the top spot among beer makers.

Bloomberg adds that other reports have previously linked Foster's to potential offers from China's Bright Food Group and Tsingtao Brewery. Canadian brewer Molson Coors (TAP) might also be interested, Reuters adds.