Why Boston Beer Stock Is Turning Sour Today

Rumors that Suntori was preparing to make an offer for the brewer appear to have been unfounded.

On Friday, investors sent shares of Boston Beer (SAM -4.57%) up 22% on reports that the U.S. brewer was in talks to sell itself. Alas, the alleged suitor has poured cold water on that excitement.

Shares of Boston Beer were trading down by 8% as of 10 a.m. ET Monday after Japanese whiskey maker Suntory said it was not in discussions to buy the company.

Will they or won’t they?

Boston Beer and Suntory have been working together since 2021, blending Suntory-owned spirits such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark to create so-called ready-to-drink beverages and promote Boston Beer’s Truly Hard Seltzer brand.

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported the two companies were in talks to combine. The talks were in an early stage, according to the article, but if a deal could be reached, it would likely come at a premium to Boston Beer’s $3 billion market capitalization.

Investors were understandably excited, and sent Boston Beer shares soaring. The company is an iconic U.S. brewer, but it has fallen on hard times of late due to changing consumer preferences. Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick retired in April and was replaced by board member Michael Spillane.

But reports of deal negotiations should never be read as a guarantee that a transaction will happen. Boston Beer shares were falling on Monday after a Suntory spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company was not in talks to buy Boston Beer.

Is Boston Beer stock a buy on the merger talks?

Corporate denials should be given about as much weight as merger rumors. Suntory could have an interest in buying Boston Beer, but might not yet have opened formal talks. Or it could have no interest whatsoever in such a deal.

The acquisition could make sense. Suntory bought its way into the U.S. whiskey market in 2014, demonstrating its willingness to use M&A to grow its reach. But Boston Beer founder Jim Koch remains chairman and owns a significant voting stake, potentially complicating any negotiations.

When investors are considering buying any stock, it’s best for them to focus on the state of the business, not talk of possible mergers. In Boston Beer’s case, we have a company that’s in major need of a makeover, and with a market cap that’s down 75% from its all-time high. Given all the uncertainties, there’s no reason to rush to buy Boston Beer stock today.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Boston Beer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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