NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of tobacco company Altria Group (MO) rose in morning trading Monday to hit a 52-week high of $44.50 amid increasing conversation about consolidation among beer companies.
Altria holds a stake in British brewing company SABMiller (SAB) , which has targeted Heineken in the latest beer consolidation talks, though Heineken rejected the company's offer. Anheuser-Busch (BUD) is also reportedly seeking financing in an attempt to take over SABMiller in what could be a $122 billion deal.
Altria's stake in SABMiller is nearly 430 million shares, or 27%, and is worth approximately 30% of the tobacco company's market cap.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ALTRIA GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate ALTRIA GROUP INC (MO) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."