SABMiller rejects AB InBev's $104 billion takeover approach

Wed Oct 7, 2015 2:46pm EDT
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By Philip Blenkinsop and Martinne Geller

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - SABMiller SAB.L, the world's second largest brewer, has promptly rejected an improved takeover proposal from Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote), saying its 68 billion-pound ($104 billion) valuation was "very substantially" under par.

Refusal of the offer, made public on Wednesday after earlier proposals were refused privately, opens the door to a week of intense wrangling before an Oct. 14 deadline for a formal bid set by the UK takeover panel.

The deal would be one of the biggest in corporate history, uniting the maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois beers with that of Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell. The combined entity would make nearly a third of the world's beer.

AB InBev realistically needs access to SAB's private financial data if it is to make an informed formal bid, but said that so far the board had not engaged meaningfully.

A deadline extension can be granted if SABMiller asks for it, and AB InBev wants shareholders to lobby the company.

"The deadline is approaching and we thought we should make it public," AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said on a conference call. "Now it's up to the shareholders to have a look at it. If they think this is a good offer, they should act and encourage the board to engage."

Brito said he was committed to a friendly deal, but did not rule out going hostile.

"I don't want to go there now. I think there's too much to be gained in the next few days," he said.   Continued...

A waiter serves a glass of beer ahead of an Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders meeting in Brussels in this April 30, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Yves Herman/Files