LONDON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, the world's two largest brewing companies, agreed in principle Tuesday to merge.
The agreement came after SABMiller's board accepted improved terms offered by Anheuser-Busch InBev of an all-cash acquisition for about $104 billion. With Anheuser-Bush InBev's takeover of SABMiller, the unified new company would be a market colossus with nearly 30 percent of the world's beer brands.
Each has dozens of beer brands; Anheuser-Busch InBev's include Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, Beck's and Hoegaarden. Among SABMiller's are Miller, Coors, Blue Moon and Keystone.
The agreement came after several weeks of discussions in London, and a deadline of Wednesday for a formal offer, under British takeover rules. Because of the size and scope of the deal, it will likely face government regulatory scrutiny and the possible sale of some assets, likely in the United States and China. It also must be supported by SABMiller's two largest shareholders, the U.S. tobacco company Altria Group, and Colombia's Santo Domingo family, who together own 41 percent of the company.