Anheuser-Busch is considering launching a defence against the unsolicited takeover bid it received from InBev this week by merging with Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US beer giant has begun preliminary talks with Modelo about a possible combination of the brewers. It sourced 'people familiar with the matter'.

The newspaper said that A-B had approached Carlos Fernandez, chief executive of Modelo and an Anheuser director, about a deal after news surfaced that InBev was weighing a bid for Anheuser.

A combined Anheuser/Modelo business could be too big for InBev to buy. Anheuser-Busch already owns a roughly 50% non-controlling stake in Modelo.