How AB InBev’s takeover of SABMiller backfired
The world’s biggest brewing company had made a habit of buying smaller companies, then increasing operating profits by drastically cutting costs. This did not work so well in SA. And, of course, Covid made things much, much worse
When the world’s largest brewer, the Belgian giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), listed on the JSE in January 2016, there was no doubt what its intention was.
The listing was part of a quid pro quo at the time, to ease concerns about AB InBev’s $122bn takeover of SABMiller. That company had grown from the small SA Breweries (SAB), launched in 1895, to become the world’s second-largest brewer...