AB InBev (ABI) has today reached an agreement to acquire SABMiller (SAB) for £71bn, after the board of the smaller company accepted an offer worth £44 a share.

The deal – one of the largest in corporate history – will create a company with around a 30% share of the global beer market.

To carry out the buy, AB InBev will merge into a new Belgian company, Newco, that will acquire SABMiller. The sum agreed is a 50% premium on SABMiller’s closing share price of £29.34 on 14 September, the last day before the current speculation began. There is also a partial share alternative part of the deal for SAB’s biggest shareholders tobacco company Altria and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family.

Following the deal, AB InBev has also agreed to sell its 58% stake in US partnership MillerCoors to the other partner, Molson Coors, for $12bn. This is seen asn an essential move to gain the approval of regulators in the US.

AB InBev has a US market share of 45.6% thanks to its ownership of Bud Lite and Budweiser, the two best-selling beers. MillerCoors is the second largest player with 27%, far ahead of third placed Crown Imports (6.2%).

“We are excited about our agreement on the terms of a recommended acquisition of SABMiller to build the world’s first truly global brewer,” said AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito. “We believe this combination will generate significant growth opportunities and create enhanced value to the benefit of all stakeholders.

“Our joint portfolio of complementary global and local brands would provide more choices for beer drinkers in new and existing markets around the world.”

SABMiller chairman Jan du Plessis said: “SABMiller has an unmatched footprint in fast-growing developing markets, underpinned by our portfolio of iconic national and global brands. However, AB InBev’s offer represents an attractive premium and cash return for our shareholders, and secures earlier delivery of our long-term value potential, which is why the Board of SABMiller has unanimously recommended AB InBev’s offer.”

SAB CEO Alan Clark added: “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.”

Shares in SAB are up 2.8% so far today to 4,087.5p.

After the deal completes, Newco intends to list its shares on Euronext Brussels, the JSE (South Africa), Mexico Stock Exchange and the NYSE.