Merger creates one of the world’s top five consumer product companies

InBev and Anheuser-Busch have agreed a merger forming one of the world’s top five consumer products companies.

Anheuser-Busch was purchased by InBev for $52bn. The transaction will be financed with $45bn in debt. The combined company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev.

With about 40% of the combined company's revenues to be generated in the US, the company will make St. Louis, Missouri the headquarters for the North American region.

The company said all of Anheuser-Busch's US breweries will remain open.

Carlos Brito, chief executive officer of the combined company, said, "We have been successful business partners for quite some time, and this is the natural next step for us in an increasingly competitive global environment. This combination will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network, with great potential for growth all over the world."

InBev said the combination would yield cost synergies of at least $1.5bn annually by 2011, through leveraging economies of scale and rationalisation of overlapping corporate functions.

On a pro-forma basis for 2007, the combined company would have generated global revenues of $36.4bn (Euro 26.6bn).

The merger is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.