Anheuser-Busch confirms plans to take full control of Mexican Modelo

Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (EBR:ABI), or AB Inbev, confirmed it was in talks over a potential deal that would expand its existing relationship with 50%-owned Mexican Grupo Modelo SAB de CV (PINK:GPMCF), the maker of the Corona beer brand.

The statement was issued in response to market speculation that the Belgian brewer was seeking to buy out the remaining stake in Modelo, AB Inbev said, without giving any specifics about the terms or the price under discussion.

Bloomberg reported on Monday citing an informed source that AB Inbev was nearing a deal worth over USD12bn (EUR9.6bn) for the rest of Modelo, with the agreement to be announced this week.

In a report from Tuesday, the new agency cited another informed source as saying that AB InBev could pay USD20bn for the remaining interest in Modelo.

According to the news agency, the negotiations could still collapse.

AB InBev said in response it was routinely considering deals that could boost shareholder value and the discussions with Modelo are not certain to lead to any transaction. Speculation on terms of a potential deal are premature, the company said.

A transaction could help AB Inbev increase profit by reducing costs and create a stronger competitor for Dutch Heineken NV (AMS:HEIA), Bloomberg cited BTG Pactual analyst Rafael Shin as saying. Modelo already leads Heineken in Mexico, the world’s sixth largest beer market, Shin added.

The Belgian group took the 50% stake in Modelo as part of its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008. Heineken owns the beer operation of Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB (NYSE:FMX) in Mexico, acquired in 2010.