Editor's Viewpoint - Drinks - No More Talk of "Mega-Mergers", Please

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It's always fun for us to be able write up the opinions of industry observers when they posit that the next wave of consolidation in one sector or another is set to break some time soon. I mean, we all love a bit of a mull, don't we?

The guiltiest party is the brewing category, with speculation never far away that Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller will some day soon embark down the road of the mega-merger. Only today (28 October), Reuters reported that "some (analysts) expect a deal within a year". (And, yes, I know that just-drinks has been equally guilty of stoking this particular fire.)

I am not so sure, however, that this is the only available route for M&A in the beer world. Just because enough speculators highlight the possibility of this mega-merger doesn't mean it's inevitably going to happen: And, nor does suggesting that it the transaction is "more a question of when, not if".

As Jeremy Cunnington at Euromonitor said today: "The ten biggest brewers’ share of global beer volumes rose from 43.2% to 64% (or 66% if A-B InBev’s 2013 acquisition of Modelo is included) over 2003-2012".

Is there really anywhere else that this can go, when limiting it to beer?

Rather, I'd like to see the brewers look beyond their category for future growth. How about AB-InBev snaffling PepsiCo's beverage operations? Or, and here's where I stick my oar in, Diageo making a move for SABMiller?

I remain hopeful that high-up folk are considering such ventures, because buying up the competition and stripping out as many costs as possible is not only a relatively boring situation to report on, it's also profoundly depressing to write about.

Sectors: Beer & cider

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