Heineken, the Dutch brewer, said on Sunday it had rejected a takeover approach made by SABMiller, putting on ice what would have been a multibillion-dollar beer deal.
With a valuation of about $44 billion, Heineken is one of the last big independent brewers in the world, remaining autonomous in an era of global consolidation.
Heineken said the controlling family wants the Dutch brewer to remain independent.
"Heineken has consulted with its majority shareholder and concluded that SABMiller's proposal is nonactionable,'' Heineken said in a statement yesterday.
This deal would have brought the two companies together and helped SABMiller resist a takeover bid from rival Anheuser-Busch InBev.
SABMiller, the second-biggest brewer in the world, owns beers including Miller and Peroni.
Bloomberg reported from its sources that SABMiller's offer would have made the Heineken family one of the largest shareholders in the combined group. The newswire also said that the approach was made in the past two weeks.
SABMiller has done many deals on its journey from a small South African player to the world's No 2 brewery, including the 2005 purchase of Colombia's Bavaria, the 2007 purchase of Grolsch, the 2008 combination of Miller Brewing Co with the U.S. business of Molson Coors TAP.N and the 2011 purchase of Foster’s Group.
Like other brewers, SABMiller is struggling to grow in Europe and North America. New revenues from emerging middle classes in developing markets have been dented by weak currencies in many of those countries.
Heineken, the largest player in the mature Western European market, has expanded steadily in faster-growing emerging markets, including Mexico and Asia.