Fomento Economico Mexicano has confirmed that it is in discussions to "explore opportunities" involving its beer business.

The Mexican drinks company, known more commonly as FEMSA, said in a statement late yesterday (1 October) that it has begun talks with an unspecified number of unnamed groups. Both Heineken and SABMiller are widely thought to be the interested parties, but neither company chose to comment on the reports when contacted by just-drinks today.

Heineken is the exclusive importer, marketer and seller of FEMSA's Dos Equis, Tecate, Tecate Light, Sol, Bohemia and Carta Blanca beer brands in the US. In 2007, the two firms extended the arrangement until 2017.

SABMiller, meanwhile, has been one of the quieter global brewers on the merger and acquisition front in recent years, but has expressed interest in FEMSA in the past, due in part to the strategic fit such a purchase would have with SAB's Bavaria beer operations in nearby Colombia.

FEMSA Cerveza is the second largest brewer in Mexico, behind Grupo Modelo, in which Anheuser-Busch InBev holds a non-controlling 50% stake.

FEMSA also owns the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America in Coca-Cola FEMSA.

Speculation has suggested that a sale may cost as much as US$9bn.