Anheuser-Busch InBev is close to lining up banks to help finance its acquisition of SABMiller, and it approached the rival brewer’s largest shareholder about a deal, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
A-B InBev, the Belgian parent company of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, contacted Altria Group Inc., which owns about 27 percent of SABMiller, the British and South African beer maker. Altria has signaled it would consider a deal, depending on the terms.
A-B InBev, the largest brewing company in the world, is believed to desire a friendly takeover of SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer.
Banks, meanwhile, are scrambling to play a role in the potentially lucrative proceedings, and are prepared to offer more than $50 billion in debt to finance the deal.