Belgian-based brewer InBev NV is considering an unsolicited takeover of Anheuser-Busch, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Busch family is loathe to sell the 150-year-old American icon and brewer of Budweiser—Executive August A. Busch IV vowed it wouldn’t happen “on my watch”—but activist investors have been scooping up shares, hoping to force the issue. InBev and Anheuser are the world’s second- and third-largest brewers by volume.
Ever since SABMiller and Coors Brewing Co. combined their US operations, other brewers have been searching for counter-moves. An InBev/Anheuser deal has long been rumored, because the companies have little geographic overlap. InBev, maker of Stella Artois and Beck’s, has a small presence in America, the most profitable beer market, but is formidable in Western Europe and developing markets.