How Merger of World's 2 Largest Beer Companies May Affect US Beer Lovers

The proposed merger will give the combined firms nearly 30 percent market share.

— -- The two biggest beer companies in the world have proposed a merger that would create a brewing empire like never before, and industry experts predict it will affect what customers buy and how much they spend around the globe.

Anheuser-Busch InBev's proposed acquisition of SABMiller for more than $104 billion would give the combined company a global market share of nearly 30 percent.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is headquartered in Leugen, Belgium, while SABMiller, which makes MillerCoors beers and is owned by Altria, is based in London.

Like with major mergers in most industries, having fewer competitors will likely lead to higher consumer prices, said John Colley, a professor at the Warwick Business School.

“Prices certainly won’t go down. If anything, the new merged company will rationalize its product range and look to increase them," Colley said. "The benefits of the takeover will not be passed on to the consumer."

The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly looking into whether Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of SABMiller would limit competition. The major beer companies are facing growing competition from smaller craft brewers.

In the U.S., SABMiller may have to sell off the Miller brand to appease authorities like the Justice Department, Colley said.

"Otherwise you would have one owner having Miller and Budweiser -- two of the major brands in the U.S., which would not be in the interest of the consumer," Colley said. "That would be good news for Miller drinkers, as prices would not necessarily go up.”

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment.