Updated at 10:00 a.m. with A-B InBev statement
Both A-B InBev and Grupo Modelo confirmed Monday morning that they've been in discussions about "expanding" their current relationship. Both, however, said no deal has been agreed upon and "speculation" on terms is premature.
Here's the full statement from A-B InBev.
Anheuser-Busch InBev notes the recent speculation regarding a possible combination between AB InBev and Grupo Modelo. AB InBev routinely considers a variety of strategic options to create value for its shareholders. There have been discussions between the company and Grupo Modelo regarding a possible transaction to expand its current relationship. These discussions may or may not lead to a transaction and any speculation on terms and conditions is therefore premature. There is a long history of partnership between Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo and AB InBev has great admiration for the Modelo business and its brands.
Modelo issued a similar statement to the Mexican stock exchange, according to Bloomberg.
“These talks might or might not lead to a consummation of a transaction and any speculation on the terms and conditions is premature.”
Multiple news outlets were reporting Sunday night that Anheuser-Busch InBev is near a deal to take full control of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo SAB.
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are citing sources close to the situation who say a $12 billion deal may be announced this week that would give A-B InBev full ownership of the parent company of Corona Extra and several other Mexican beers. It already owns a 50 percent share of the brewer and controls nine of the company's 19 board seats.
An A-B InBev spokeswoman declined comment.
The deal is fragile, and "may still fall through," Bloomberg writes. But if it happens, it would likely extend A-B InBev's dominant position in the North American beer market, while also giving it a valuable export brand in Corona.
A-B and Modelo have ties going back two decades, though their relationship has at times been testy. Modelo imports A-B products to Mexico and over time through the 90s and early 2000s, A-B acquired a 50 percent equity stake in the company. The St. Louis brewer seriously considered acquiring the other 50 percent during its bid to stave off acquisition by InBev in 2008 - the so-called "Mexican defense" - but ultimately decided against it.
Now it looks like A-B and Modelo may be under one roof soon regardless.