It finally happened: The big boys of beer are combining into one behemoth. After weeks of speculation and amid a spate of recent craft brewery acquisitions and deals, SABMiller announced in a statement Thursday that it agreed in principle to accept an acquisition bid from Anheuser-Busch InBev, which would give the world’s largest beer maker control of nearly one-third of the global market.
While the combination of the two largest brewing conglomerates is potentially cause for concern for many in craft beer, the full impact of the deal is still unknown. When news of serious talks between SABMiller and AB InBev emerged in September, Brewers Association director Paul Gatza issued a statement addressing the news.
“Will future transactions in and from the craft space hurt the brand of craft? Time will tell all,” he said.
Even the merger itself is far from over. According to a story by The Associated Press, the $106 billion deal will likely face heavy anti-trust scrutiny from federal regulators, and any combination is expected to require Miller to sell off a great deal of the brands in its portfolio.