SABMiller says to review AB InBev deal once approved by regulators

Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:08pm EDT
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By Freya Berry

LONDON (Reuters) - SABMiller's SAB.L board will review its $107 billion merger deal with Anheuser Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote) once all regulatory approvals have been secured, its chairman said on Thursday.

The two companies received approval on Wednesday from U.S. antitrust regulators, after they agreed to sell assets and preserve competition from independent craft brewers. The companies are now waiting for China's approval.

However, the drop in sterling since the UK voted to leave the European Union has reduced the relative appeal of the all-cash offer aimed at most of SAB's shareholders.

Shareholders also voiced concerns about a stock-and-cash alternative structure, created as part of the takeover and designed for SAB's biggest investors, cigarette maker Altria (MO.N: Quote) and Colombia's Santo Domingo family.

At the company's annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday, Chairman Jan du Plessis said the board would consider AB InBev's offer after it had received preconditions from Chinese regulators.

The board would also take into account sterling's fall. "We continue to listen to shareholders," du Plessis said, when asked at the meeting if he would reconsider the terms of AB InBev's offer in light of the changed market environment.

"The board will take into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances that we think should be considered."

The firm would then write to shareholders, he said. A spokesman for SABMiller declined to elaborate further.   Continued...

Photo illustration of beer flowing from a bottle of Stella Artois into a glass, seen against a SAB Miller logo, November 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo