The road to MegaBrew - How SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev arrived at today's historic deal

Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed in principle to acquire global rival SABMiller in the biggest ever deal in drinks history, and one of the top five in the corporate world. But it has been a long path to today's historic news. Below is a digest of the most significant moments in the creation of “MegaBrew”.

May 2002: South African Breweries (SAB) buys Miller Brewing from tobacco giant Philip Morris to create what was, at that time, the world's second largest beer group behind Anheuser-Busch.

June 2003: SABMiller's first significant investment in Western Europe is a controlling stake in Italian brewer Birra Peroni.

May 2004: Belgium brewer Interbrew, the owner of the Stella Artois brand, transforms itself with a merger with Brazil's Ambev. The deal creates InBev, the world's largest brewing entity by volume, and is described by one prophetic person in AmBev's boardroom as “a unique opportunity... to establish a truly global powerhouse”.

July 2008: US brewer Anheuser-Busch enters the InBev universe after it accepts a US$52bn takeover bid to create the world's biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

November 2008: Despite objections from many quarters, including US senators, mayors and would-be presidents - not to mention the 'Save our Bud' bumper stickers - the deal is eventually completed.

February 2011: The first mention of a possible SABMiller/A-B InBev merger appears on just-drinks as an analyst from Credit Suisse floats the idea of a US$71bn “mega-merger”.

September 2011: After a protracted courtship, SABMiller agrees a deal to buy Australia's Foster's Group.

March 2012: SABMiller signs a partnership with Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes.

June 2013: A-B InBev pays US$20bn for compete control of Grupo Modelo, nearly a year after the deal was first announced.

September 2014: Heineken confirms a takeover approach from SABMiller but says it is not interested. A-B InBev then gives a no comment to a Wall Street Journal report it is in talks with banks about financing a US$122bn deal for SABMiller.

September 2015: After months of speculation - and no outcome over rumours that A-B InBev shareholder 3G was planning a bid for Diageo - SABMiller confirms that it received notification from A-B InBev of a possible takeover.

October 2015: SABMiller agrees in principal to a deal, effectively sealing a GBP71.24bn (US$109.3bn) takeover. But not before it rejects two informal and one formal offer, and fends off pressure from A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito, who attempts to foment revolt among SABMiller's shareholders. And all ahead of a tight takeover deadline, leaving the prospect of the deal unraveling, open until almost the last minute.