Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, has a reached an all-cash deal to acquire the 50 percent it does not already own in Mexican market leader Grupo Modelo for $20.1 billion, the companies said Friday in a joint press release.

As a result of the transaction, Modelo's world-famous Corona beer will join Budweiser as a "global flagship brand" of the Leuven, Belgium-based group, which expects annual cost savings "of at least $600 million," the release said.

"The combination will be completed through a series of steps that will simplify Grupo Modelo's corporate structure, followed by an all-cash tender offer by AB InBev for all outstanding Grupo Modelo shares," it added.

The combined company will "lead the global beer industry with roughly 400 million hectoliters of beer volume annually and 2012 estimated revenues of $47 billion," while its operations will "span 24 countries with enhanced opportunities for 150,000 employees across the globe."

The release added that the transaction, which was expected after the two companies said earlier this week that they were in talks, is subject to regulatory approval in the United States, Mexico and other countries.

AB InBev, which inherited a 50 percent stake in the Mexican brewer when InBev acquired Anheuser Busch in 2008 and has maintained a partnership with the Mexican company dating back to 1993, will pay $9.15 per share, or "a premium of approximately 30 percent to the closing price of Grupo Modelo series C shares on June 22, 2012," to Modelo's controlling families.

"Grupo Modelo has been one of our most important partners for more than 20 years and we are very pleased to evolve our long and successful relationship into this combination," AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said.

For his part, Grupo Modelo Chairman and CEO Carlos Fernandez said the deal is an "exciting transaction that will bring our brands and proud heritage to even more consumers internationally while offering an increasing number of AB InBev's brands in Mexico."

"Together we will be the leading global brewer with top brands around the world and positions in some of the fastest growing countries," Fernandez said.

Founded in 1925, Grupo Modelo is Mexico's leading beer producer, distributer and marketer with annual installed capacity of 70 million hectoliters.

The Mexico City-based company posted net income of 18.4 billion pesos (some $1.3 billion) in 2011, up 18 percent from the previous year.

Modelo brews 13 brands, including Corona Extra, the No. 1 imported beer in the U.S. market, and is the exclusive importer in Mexico of AB-InBev's brands such as Budweiser and Bud Light.

In a separate deal, Modelo said it will sell its 50 percent stake in Crown Imports - which distributes the Mexican company's beers in the United States - to New York-based joint venture partner Constellation Brands. EFE