A major merger between beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) and Grupo Modelo (GMODELOC.MX) is in the works.

Anheuser-Busch is closing to finalizing a $12 billion takeover deal that would give it control of Modelo, a Mexican beer company that owns the rights to the popular Corona Extra brand. Modelo trades publicly on the Mexican Stock Exchange. The stock has already gained 13% today on rumors of the Anheuser-Busch merger.

 Anheuser-Busch already owns a 50%, non-controlling stake in Modelo. The deal would reportedly give the company a controlling stake.

Modelo has been in business since 1925 and has a market value of $23 billion. Its Corona Extra brand is the top-selling imported beer in the U.S. Its Corona Light, Negra Modelo and Pacifico brands are also big sellers. The company posted a net income of $1.33 billion in 2011, up 18% from the prior year.

Buying Modelo would be a major coup for Anheuser-Busch InBev.

AB InBev is already atop the global beer world with an 18.3% market share. SABMiller (SAB.L) is a distant second, with a 9.8% global market share.

The merger has not been finalized, and could run into some red tape with regulators should they deem the deal in violation of antitrust laws. 

ABInBev’s last major acquisition was a $52 billion deal to buy Anheuser-Busch back in 2008.

ABInBev shares are 0.8% today and have climbed 16% year-to-date.

Published by Wyatt Investment Research at