Molson Coors to get Miller brand

AB InBev and SABMiller’s €100 billion (£70bn) deal will involve the complete global ‘divestiture’ of SAB Miller’s interest in the Miller brand to its brand partner Molson Coors for $12 billion.

AB InBev recently-announced agreement with Molson Coors Brewing Company regarding the complete divestiture of SABMiller’s interest in MillerCoors, the joint venture in the US and Puerto Rico between Miller Coors and SABMiler, frees up Molson Coors to take possession of the Miller brand when the deal goes through next year.

The buyout of SABMiller is expected to complete in the second half of next year subject to relevant regulatory approval.

Thus Molson Coors will acquire SABMiller’s 50% voting interest and 58% economic interest in MillerCoors.

MillerCoors will then become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Molson Coors together with the rights to the Miller brand.

Along with this will come the right to import brands currently in the MillerCoors portfolio including Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Pilsner Urquell brands in the US.

“This transaction is a game-changing opportunity for Molson Coors,” stated Molson Coors’ President and Chief Executive Mark Hunter, “MillerCoors is a business we know very well, its strategy, culture, brands and people.

“In consolidating ownership of MillerCoors, we will strengthen our presence in the highly attractive US beer market, further improve our global scale and agility, benefit from significantly enhanced cashflows and capture substantial operational synergies.”

Here, the main brands to be affected would be Coors Light and Miller.

But everything depends on the deal being concluded successfully, according to Robert Blythe, Marketing Director for Molson Coors’ beer portfolio on the Island of Ireland as well as its craft beer business here and in the UK.

“It’s a significant development for us over the medium to long term” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “and the acquisition of the Miller trademark is something that’s going to have to be considered at a global level as well as a domestic one.”

As Molson Coors is just getting used to the new arrangement, it’s important for the company to see how the brands will work not just in Ireland but across the globe.

“There’s not going to be anything happening today or tomorrow” he added, “and only once this deal has been concluded could we look at any deal that may be in place with the brands in Ireland.”

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free