British brewer SABMiller announced Tuesday that it had agreed a takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest beer producer, in a deal worth about $109 billion ( Â£71 billion, 96 billion euros).
Belgian-Brazilian group AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois lagers, struck a deal with the maker of Foster’s and Grolsch at the fifth time of asking.
Including debt, the cost of buying SABMiller is around $117 billion, making it the world’s third biggest takeover after two mega mergers across the telecoms sector.
“The boards of AB InBev and SABMiller announce that they have reached agreement in principle on the key terms of a possible recommended offer”, priced at an improved Â£44 per SABMiller share, the British group said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
The terms of Tuesday’s deal is meanwhile higher than a fourth bid tabled by AB InBev on Monday that was worth about Â£43.50 a share.
At Â£44 a share, the new all-cash offer is a premium of about 50 percent to SABMiller’s closing share price on September 14, or final business day prior to renewed speculation of an approach by AB InBev.
SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, claimed the previous bids undervalued the company, upping the pressure ahead of Wednesday’s regulatory deadline by which time its rival would have had to make an official offer or walk away for at least six months.
The sector is looking at consolidation faced with the increased popularity of so-called craft beers that are brewed by smaller independent firms.
AB InBev, which brews also Corona and Stella Artois, recently reported a sharp fall in second quarter profits owing to weak economic conditions in several markets.
In order to firm up its business, SABMiller earlier this year bought London-based craft beer company Meantime for an undisclosed sum, as big players in a saturated beer market eye opportunities in the fast-growing segment.
Elsewhere, Dutch beer giant Heineken has bought half of US-based beer maker Lagunitas, hoping to cash in on the global rocketing popularity of craft beers.