SAB Miller, the London listed drinks group, is reportedly lining up a £7bn bid for Foster’s Group and Asahi, the Japanese brewer has also engaged two investment banks to look at a potential deal. Long-running interest in the Australian brewer's beer business resurfaced on Monday after the Sunday Times reported SABMiller was considering buying the unit. Foster's has one of the highest margin brewing operations in the world with brands including Foster's Lager, Victoria Bitter and Pure Blonde. Analysts say Foster's beer business could also be an attractive target for drinks firms such as Molson Coors, which owns a 5% stake in Foster's, and Coca-Cola Amatil. Ian Shackleton, an analyst at Nomura, said: "We remain sceptical that any bid will come here before the planned demerger of the beer division in early 2010. "SAB and Asahi are the two names that keep popping up and given the demerger process in train you would expect people who ever thought they might look at Foster's to get teams together to do so. A takeover of Foster's beer would be the second largest takeover deal in the global food and drinks sector this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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