MegaKega? Megabrew? Beer merger plans launch corporate name game

Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:08pm EDT
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By Freya Berry and Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) - Will a beer colossus by any other name taste as sweet?

For the executives preparing a merger worth over $100 billion, a not inconsiderable question is what to call a company that will brew almost one in three of the world's pints.

The current names of the firms, Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR and SABMiller SAB.L, are the acronym-heavy result of years of dealmaking. While neither trips off the tongue, each resonates with its thousands of employees and, to a lesser extent, millions of consumers.

A new name isn't just a marketing exercise - it's about both recognizing the history and setting the future direction of the freshly-combined companies, industry experts said.

"A sure fire way to create friction among a newly unified employee population is to tip your hat to one of their businesses and heritage but not the other," said Mark Skoultchi, Partner at U.S. naming consultancy Catchword.

In this case, paying homage to any of the predecessors - Anheuser-Busch, AmBev, Interbrew, South African Breweries and Miller Brewing - is bound to be a mouthful.

Drinks industry sources suggested names to Reuters including SAB InBev, ABSAB, Globev, SABI and Omnibrew, while analysts labeled the combination MegaBrew throughout the nearly month-long courtship.

Catchword has opened up a forum on for suggestions. Contributions so far range from the wacky - MegaKega, Beerhemouth - to the finance in-jokes - Hopportunity, M&(IP)A.   Continued...

A barman pours a beer produced by brewing company SAB Miller at a bar in Cape Town, September 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Hutchings