Press reports have linked the US brewing group, Anheuser-Busch, with possible takeover bids for the leading German brewer, Holsten, and the Czech beer producer, Budejovicky Budvar.

The report, which emerged in the German weekly, Focus, and did not quote any sources, follow the news that the biggest shareholder in Holsten, Christian Eisenbeiss, has indicated that he might cede control of the company and that the brewer was looking for a strategic international partner.

Last week, Holsten was given the go-ahead by Christian Eisenbeiss to seek a strategic partner and engaged the US investment bank, Lehman Brothers, to assist in the search. Eisenbeiss controls 48.38% of Holsten with some 39.62% publicly traded.

It was also revealed recently that the Czech government was considering privatising Budejovicky Budvar which has been engaged in a long-running legal dispute extending to many countries with Anhueuser-Busch over trademarks.