Given the high debt burden of AB InBev after the $100 billion blockbuster merger in 2016 with SABMiller, (inside.beer, 28.9.2016) the world largest brewer is at the moment not actively seeking larger take-over targets.
“We are very happy with our footprint today, so the company is really focusing always on growth, and the most important lever for growth is and always is going to be organic growth,” Michel Doukeris, AB InBev’s Zone President North America, said in an interview with Food Dive last week. However, the top manager, who took office on January 1, replacing João Castro Neves due to the poor performance of the Anheuser Busch brands in recent years (inside.beer, 13.11.2017), made also clear that his company is "always analyzing the opportunities.”
He also did not rule out any deals "when the opportunities arise." "But given the size of the last acquisition, and given everything that we still need to do on the footprint we have today, our focus is 100% on organic,” he added.
Rumored targets in the past have been Pepsi Cola and even Coca Cola. (inside.beer, 9.12.2016) People close to the industry still see a decent chance for such a deal but only in the middle to long run based on the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio. Reuters states AB InBev’s Total Debt to Equity Ratio in the most recent quarter at 160.50, which is two times higher as the industry at 82.34 and six times higher than the sector, which is quoted at 26.79.