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SAB could lose Peroni and Grolsch brands

| Wine and liquor

Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev, the beermaker in talks to buy SABMiller for R1.54trn, is considering selling the Peroni and Grolsch brands as it works to gain regulatory clearance to combine the world’s biggest brewers, people familiar with the matter said.

The deliberations for the beer companies, which belong to SABMiller, are at a preliminary stage, the people said, asking not to be named because the plans aren’t yet public.

No final decision on the sale has been made and a formal sale process hasn’t started, one of the people said. Representatives for SABMiller and AB InBev declined to comment.

SABMiller agreed to sell its 58% stake in MillerCoors to partner Molson Coors Brewing in a R173bn deal earlier this month to win regulators’ approval.

The deal to merge SABMiller and AB InBev, called “Megabrew” by analysts, will create a behemoth controlling about half of the industry’s profits.

The combined company will have the number one or two positions in 24 of the world’s 30 biggest beer markets, and provide AB InBev its first toehold in Africa, where about 65 million people are due to reach the legal drinking age by 2023.

The combined companies’ dominance has raised concerns from the industry. The deal could lead to less competition among beer distributors and undue influence over the commodities used in brewing all over the world, said Bob Pease, chief executive officer of the Brewers Association trade group, earlier this month.

Dutch Grolsch beer was founded in 1615, while Italy’s Peroni has been produced since 1846, according to SABMiller’s website.

The London-based Sunday Times reported the potential sale earlier.

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