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AB InBev Gulps Corona Maker For $20.1 Billion (Update 1)

The move comes amid a rapid consolidation in the industry as beer giants cut deals to tap faster growing markets outside of Western Europe and the United States.

To combat declining sales in key U.S. and Canadian beer markets and falling profits, Moslon Coors (TAP - Get Report) recently acquired Czech Republic-based StarBev, the brewer of Staropramen beer, in a $3.5 billion deal that will push the company into heavy-drinking eastern European emerging economies.

In late 2011, SABMiller (SAB), the world's second-biggest brewer by volume, bought Australia's Fosters Group for about $10.5 billion.

Friday's acquisition puts an end to previous speculation that AB InBev would look to merge with SABMiller, in a deal that was reported to be in excess of $80 billion.

In addition to Latin American beers and Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser family of beers, the brewing conglomerate also owns European brands Stella, Beck's, Bass, Löwenbräu and Leffe, to go with U.S. craft beers Goose Island and Shock Top.

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch InBev said it would pay for the remaining stake in Grupo Modelo using cash reserves and a $14 billion credit facility. As part of the merger, which is expected to close in 2013, the combined companies are expected to see $600 million of annual cost savings.

For more on investing in beer and alcohol, see the top 5 beverage stocks. See 5 deal ready stocks loved by hedge funds for more on potential M&A targets.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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