Anheuser talks merger with Grupo Modelo

American brewer enters talks with Mexican peer perhaps in attempt to stave off takeover by Belgian InBev, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Anheuser-Busch has entered preliminary merger talks with Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal Thursday.

A merger between the two companies could help the American brewing company hold off Belgian beer maker InBev's $46.3 billion unsolicited takeover bid that was announced Wednesday.

According to the Journal report, Anheuser-Bush approached Grupo Modelo about a deal in the past couple weeks, as rumors began to surface about a possible InBev offer. The $65-a-share bid came two weeks after the Financial Times reported InBev, brewer of Beck's, Bass and Stella Artois, was weighing a possible offer, driven in part by the strength of the euro against the dollar and the presence of a pro-merger administration in Washington.

The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch (BUD, Fortune 500) already owns about a 50% stake in the Mexican company, which makes Corona-brand beers.

Anheuser said Wednesday its board "will evaluate the proposal carefully and in the context of all relevant factors, including Anheuser-Busch's long-term strategic plan." The company said it expects the board to make a decision "in due course," though top members of the Busch family that have run the company for generations have said they don't want to sell.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch fell about 1% in after-hours trading. To top of page

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