AB InBev CEO appeals to SAB shareholders for second day
By Philip Blenkinsop and Martinne Geller
BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito repeated his appeal to SABMiller shareholders on Thursday, again urging them to push the brewer's board into more serious takeover discussions.
The Brazilian boss of Belgium-based AB InBev expressed frustration at the board of its UK rival, continuing a strategy begun on Wednesday, which one analyst called going "hostile lite", referring to an acquirer putting its terms direct to a target's shareholders.
The stakes are high for both, the world's No. 1 and 2 brewers, whose combination would be the fifth largest merger in corporate history, according to Thomson Reuters data.
AB InBev said it was surprised the SABMiller board said its takeover offer of 42.15 pounds per share, made public on Wednesday, "still very substantially undervalues" SABMiller.
It noted the price is a 44 percent premium to SAB's share price on Sept. 14, the last day before renewed speculation of its approach. The premium, and the fact that SAB's largest shareholder, tobacco group Altria, supports the offer, show SAB's stance "lacks credibility", it said.
"How long will it be before shareholders see a value of over 42 pounds in the absence of an offer from AB InBev?" Brito said in a statement on Thursday.
"If shareholders agree that we should be in proper discussions, they should voice their views and should not allow the board of SABMiller to frustrate this process and let this opportunity slip away."
An SAB spokesman said the company noted AB InBev's announcement, which it said "contains nothing new." Continued...