BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A merger between InBev INTB.BR and U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch (BUD.N) is inevitable in the long run, Belgian business weekly Trends said on Thursday, citing what it called senior InBev figures.
Shares in InBev, now the world’s second-largest brewer by volume, have risen 17 percent since rumors intensified in mid-February that the two major brewers would join forces.
The Dow Jones Stoxx European food and beverage index .SX3P has risen 2 percent in that time.
Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico said then that the two companies were in talks, albeit still at a preliminary stage. It also cited an unnamed investment banker as saying a merger had “big chances of happening one day”.
Trends magazine said on Thursday that senior figures at Belgium’s InBev believed a merger with Anheuser-Busch at some point “belonged to the nature of things”.
InBev, whose key international brands are Stella Artois, Beck‘s, Brahma and Leffe, is principally active in Latin America and western Europe, with growing interests in Asia and eastern Europe.
Anheuser-Busch, whose products include Budweiser and Michelob, is the largest U.S. brewer.
Analysts argue a merger would find few problems with regulators given the limited overlap, although some question the amount of synergies that could be reached.
The two already have a deal under which Anheuser-Busch distributes InBev’s imported products in the United States.