Diageo has been linked to a buyout deal for Mexcian brewer Femsa Cerveza but analysts believe the drinks giant remains very much an outsider, with SABMiller in pole position.

There has been speculation this week that Diageo could join another bidder, possibly Heineken, in order to buy Femsa's beer business.

The drinks giant, owner of Guinness and Red Stripe beers, declined to comment today (10 December).

Femsa, which is Mexico's second largest brewer and producer of Sol beer, said in October that it had begun talks with several parties on the potential sale of its beer business.

A source familiar with the situation told just-drinks today that Diageo is unlikely to get involved, even as part of a consortium.

This view has been backed up by analysts, one of whom told just-drinks that Diageo is "extremely unlikely" to make a move.

"They are a total beverage alcohol business, but premium brands are what interests them. To try and claim that Sol is a premium beer would be stretching it."

Analyst group Nomura Securities said that it is possible that Diageo could partner with Heineken on a bid.

But, it agreed that this is "highly unlikely" and added: "We still see SABMiller as the most likely winner here as it can access more synergies, with a deal likely to be announced in January."

SABMiller is one of the parties understood to be in talks with Femsa and is widely considered the frontrunner to buy the beer business, which analysts believe could fetch up to US$9bn.

Femsa Cerveza has a 43% share of the beer market in Mexico, which is the world's fourth largest beer market by volume. It also owns  Mexican convenience store chain Oxxo, which has over 7,000 units and is growing at around 900 stores a year.