SABMiller Plc’s move to buy the majority family-owned Heineken NV was a surprise to the global beer industry, but it being rebuffed was not. This seems to be a defensive move by SABMiller and a reactionary one to speculation of an Anheuser-Busch NV take-over at a time when the latter is accumulating capital in preparation for the biggest ever buy-out in the beer market. Heineken’s decision to rebuff the offer is of no surprise due to the majority ownership by the de Carvalho-Heineken family.
According to Euromonitor, the consequences of this buyout would significantly reshape the competitive landscape for the global beer market as the second and third largest brewers would bring together over 37 billion liters of beer sales at around a 19% share of global market volume sales in 2014. The combined companies would reassert their dominance on the beer market in Western and Eastern Europe, and Middle East and Africa (MEA) placing them on the heels of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV in second place on a global level with less than 1% volume share separating the top two brewers. A-B InBev’s chances to buy out SABMiller, as speculated by the industry, would weaken as the capital required for the buy-out significantly expands. Furthermore, A-B InBev would have to deal with a major competitor in future consolidation moves, beyond those that would already exist.