Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) and Mexico's Grupo Modelo are reportedly in talks to make a joint bid for Foster's, according to June 3 reports, though other bidders may yet step forward for the Australian beer maker.
Foster's announced last year its intentions to divest its wine operations. The struggling business unit has been viewed as a deterrent to prospective buyers.
"It is 100% likely that they (Molson and Modelo) have been contemplating that kind of thing, but only in the sense that any major global brewer is always going to be looking at potential targets," Angus Gluskie, a portfolio manager at White Funds Management in Sydney, which holds Foster's shares, told the newswire. "But they have to make a decision on whether it is a good time or a bad time to act on it. There are a couple of strategic reasons why you may not do it and the Aussie dollar is probably the biggest of them."Australian sources told Reuters that Foster's had not received a formal bid from Molson and Modelo. Fosters' attractiveness stems from its high margins -- said to be around 37% for beer, nearly double that global competitors -- and 50% market share in Australia. SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, could also be a likely bidder, according to sources who spoke to Reuters. Both China's Tsingtao Brewery and Japan's Asahi Breweries have said they are not planning a bid for Foster's.