MILWAUKEE -- It appears to be a super brewery in the making. Anheuser-Busch has agreed to buy its rival SABMiller for $104 billion. Board members of the two companies say this is a "possible deal" -- not a done deal. A big question is what it means for the MillerCoors facility in Milwaukee.
The merger of the world's two biggest brewers represents a combined sales potential of $55 billion and 70 percent of the beer market in the U.S. That is expected to be a little too big for anti-trust legislators.
Milwaukee Business Journal reporter Olivia Barrow says many observers speculate a forced sell-out.
"It looks like in order to prevent that 70 percent ownership from happening, Molson Coors would buy-out the U.S. brands of SAB Miller, which would look really similar to the MillerCoors joint venture in the U.S.," said Barrow.
Barrow says that would keep the brands that are part of Milwaukee's history out of the merger. That scenario also seems to please local distributors.
"They don't really expect that to make much of a change to Milwaukee operations," said Barrow. "Ownership, Molson Coors ownership would probably look pretty similar to the joint venture ownership right now."
After the merger agreement announcement, MillerCoors offered this statement:
"Miller Brewing Company just celebrated our 160th anniversary in Miller Valley and we anticipate being part of the community fabric for many years to come. We continue to invest in Milwaukee. In fact we recently announced we will be bringing more brewing volume to the Milwaukee brewery in the next year. We are not getting distracted and remain laser focused on growing our business in the U.S."