Stocks in the company shot up 1.2 per cent Tuesday after the New York Post newspaper linked investment group Pershing to a possible $2bn hedge fund move for the group. Anheuser-Busch has in recent months increased its focus to emerging markets like those in Asia to offset slower sales growth within the US. Any potential investment therefore of one of the US' most established beverage brands could encourage similar moves by other groups. Anheuser-Busch declined to comment on the reports. While Anheuser-Busch's position as the US's leading brewer continues to attract interest from potential bidders, the importance of domestic beer sales in the country is being overshadowed by foreign markets. This has therefore encouraged the company to expand into burgeoning international markets in an attempt to invigorate its operations. Earlier this year, YR Cheng, the group's managing director for China told Beveragedaily.com that it was pushing into china's emerging beer market to offset stagnant growth in its key markets like the US and Europe. "As the largest-volume and fastest-growing beer market in the world, China is the most important market for Anheuser-Busch outside the United States," he said. However, Anheuser-Busch is not the only company keen to expand its focus on the growing opportunities offered by the Chinese beer market. SABMiller announced that emerging markets in Asia had helped the group overcome disappointing performances sales within North America and South Africa, during its latest third quarter results. Beer sales in China during the period were up 30 per cent, reflecting SABMiller's determination to out-gun rival brewers through its operations there.