Budweiser Brewer in 'Discussions' with Corona Maker Grupo Modelo

June 25, 2012
Anheuser-Busch InBev, which already owns a 50% stake in the Mexican firm, calls speculation 'premature.'

The world's top brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (IW 1000/106), maker of Budweiser, Beck's and Stella Artois, said Monday it is in "discussions" with Mexico's Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona.

"There have been discussions between the company and Grupo Modelo regarding a possible transaction to expand its current relationship," AB InBev said in a statement after U.S. media reports said the company was set to take control of the Mexican firm in a $12-billion deal (9.6 billion euros).

InBev already owns a 50% stake in Grupo Modelo (IW 1000/511).

"These discussions may or may not lead to a transaction and any speculation on terms and conditions is therefore premature," the statement added.

AB InBev underlined a "long history of partnership" between the two companies and a "great admiration for the Modelo business and its brands."

The Wall Street Journal said a deal would give AB InBev full control of Corona, one of the world's biggest-selling beer brands and the No. 1 imported lager in the United States.

In their last accounts posted at the end of April, AB InBev reported a 75% jump in first-quarter net profits to $1.69 billion and a 6.2% rise in turnover to $9.33 billion.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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