When it comes to global brewing, there are two major players. The world number 1 is Anheuser Busch InBev NV, known for global brands including Becks, Budweiser and Stella Artois; while the world number 2, SAB Miller, an Anglo-South African firm, is number 2, with some of its famous products including Grolsch, Miller, Peroni and Fosters.

It’s an old story; number 1 wants to take over number 2, creating a mega-corporation which will dwarf other competitors. But number 2 isn’t exactly keen on the idea – cue a slew of offers, met with dismissals.

In the past few weeks, InBev has made a number of takeover offers; at the time of writing SAB Miller had turned down a third offer of £42.15 per share, stating that the price was too low. Fewer than 20% of SAB Miller’s board members were prepared to accept that price, claiming that the offer ‘substantially undervalues’ the firm. By also talking about how InBev has failed to factor in SAB Miller’s ‘stand-alone prospects’ into its thinking, SAB Miller appears to be sending a clear message – that they are not looking to be purchased and that InBev will need to offer a lot more before such an offer is seriously considered.

Further shots have been fired over this latest refusal, with InBev saying that SAB Miller’s latest refusal ‘lacks credibility’, with SAB Miller retorting that InBev’s latest proposal ‘contains nothing new’.

What Next?

It’s worth noting that even if InBev and SAB Miller do come to an agreement, the new hyper-company would face a significant amount of antitrust legislation with the potential to derail the deal. Even closer on the horizon, however, si the fact that SAB Miller’s UK links mean that under UK law, InBev have until the 14th October to offer another deal to SAB Miller, after which they will have to take a six-month hiatus before they can make another offer.

However, in the meantime, SAB Miller’s shares are trading more than 20% higher than they were a month ago, before InBev made its first offer. It remains to be seen whether the price will soar further or slump back down in the coming period, should InBev fail to come to an agreement with SAB Miller before the 14th – will they come back in six months, or will their takeover ardour have cooled off by then? We’ll have to wait and see.