Ab InBev today formalised its offer for SABMiller, launching the largest acquisition seen in the brewing industry.

The final offer of some £71 billion represents a premium of 43% on SABMiller’s closing share price on September 14, 2015, when news of the possible bid became public.

AB InBev expects to achieve some £920 million of annual savings from SABMiller’s operations by the end of four years. It believes this will be possible thanks to consolidation of management structures, as well as synergies in procurement, brewery operations and distribution.

These savings are in addition to £690 million per annum which Alan Clark, chief executive of SABMiller, had promised his shareholders while fighting off earlier advances from AB InBev.

Carlos Brito, chief executive of AB InBev, said: “We believe this combination will generate significant growth opportunities and create enhanced value to the benefit of all stakeholders.

“By pooling our resources, we would build one of the world’s leading consumer products companies, benefitting from the experience, commitment and drive of our combined global talent base.

“Moreover, a combination of our two companies would allow us to make a greater and more positive impact on the communities in which we live and work, drawing on our shared commitment in this regard.”

Alan Clark said: “SABMiller grew from small beginnings, brewing quality cold beer for thirsty miners in the dusty streets of 19th century Johannesburg.

“More than 120 years later, generations of incredibly talented people have built a highly-admired, high-performing global beer and beverage business.

“We’ve always nurtured the art of brewing, which has given us a stable of locally-loved and internationally-famous beers. What’s also made us special is our deep understanding of navigating different local markets, catering for local tastes and helping build the communities around us.

“Listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1999 was the launch-pad for our global ambitions, leading to the creation of the number two global brewer and a FTSE-10 company, with industry-leading shareholder returns.

“The SABMiller story is a simply amazing achievement, and everyone who has been a part of it should feel immensely proud of the value they have helped create. I am sure the next chapter will bring new opportunities for exceptional success.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is not expected to conclude before the second half of 2016.

To address regulatory concerns in the US, where the combined companies would have a market share of 70%, a subsidiary deal has been announced which will see Canadian brewer Molson Coors buy out SABMiller’s 58% stake in their MillerCoors US joint venture.

Molson Coors is paying £7.9 billion for both MillerCoors US operations and worldwide rights to the Miller beer brand.

It will make Molson Coors the third largest brewer in the world, behind the yet-to-be-named AB In Bev/SABMiller entity and the family-owned Heineken.

Molson will have a 25% share of US beer market, second to ABInBev’s 45%.

Molson expects the deal to add ¢4.7 billion in revenue, with saving estimated at $200 million after four years.

Mark Hunter, president and chief executive of Molson Coors, said: “SABMiller has been an excellent partner for the past seven years and we are extremely proud of the organisation that our teams have created.

“We have a deep passion for and understanding of the MillerCoors brands, strategy and culture and believe this transaction is the ideal outcome for this business.

“We look forward to continuing to provide our distributors, retailers and consumers with an extraordinary portfolio of brands.”

Regulatory problems in China and South Africa have yet to be addressed.