Molson's decision to merge with Coors was akin to a pre-emptive strike, the brewer's chief executive has said. Speaking at the Scotia Capital Back to School conference yesterday (21 September), Daniel O'Neill said that Molson evaluated 23 brewers from around the world before deciding that its best bet was to merge with Coors.

He said that, following the completion of a strategic review earlier this year, the company felt that the only option that came close was Coors. To confirm this feeling, Molson hired Citigroup as an adviser, handing over all its strategic work minus any names. Citigroup came to the same conclusion, O'Neill said.

O'Neill added that the merger of Interbrew and AmBev earlier this year triggered the next wave of industry consolidation. "We don't feel there's an alternative even close to this in terms of generating shareholder value," he said.

The chief executive's comments come as an attempt my O'Neill to gain shareholder approval for the merger. "I feel as people understand the rationale better, the shareholders will clearly vote in favour of the transaction," O'Neill said.