SABMiller and Molson Coors plan to merge US operations

27 August, 2008
Page 6 
Competition from wine, spirits and craft brewers prom pted the proposed merger of the US interests of SABMiller and Molson Coors.

Subject to regulatory approval, the new company - to be called Miller Coors - will be in operation by the end of the year.

It will be focused on the US and Puerto Rican markets only, with SABMiller having a 58 per cent financial interest, even though the voting rights will be split 50-50.

The new company will have a portfolio that combines strong domestic brands in Miller Lite and Coors Light, craft-style brews such as Leinenkugel's and Blue Moon, and developing global brands like Peroni, Molson and Pilsner Urquell.

Molson Coors chief executive Leo Kiely will head the joint venture with the same job title.

Tom Long, chief executive of Miller Brewing, will be president and chief commercial officer.

Molson Coors vice chairman Pete Coors will be chairman, with SABMiller chief executive Graham Mackay as vice chairman.

Pete Coors said the deal was driven by "the profound changes in the US alcohol beverage industry that are confronting both compa nies with new challenges".

He added: "Consumers are broadening their tastes and are looking for greater choice .

"Wine and spirits companies are encroaching on traditional beer occasions, and global beer imports and craft brewers are both taking a larger share of volume and profit growth.

"Creating a stronger US brewer will help us meet these challenges and provide US consumers with greater product availability and increased innovation."