AB InBev and SABMiller expect megabrew merger to complete October 10
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote) and SABMiller SAB.L, the world's two largest brewers, set out a timetable on Monday for the final stages of their $100 billion-plus merger, with completion of the deal expected in a little more than two months.
SABMiller's board agreed last week to an improved 79 billion pound ($104.3 billion) offer from AB InBev, which said it would now publish the takeover terms on Tuesday.
A key step in the process is an Aug. 22 British court hearing to assess SABMiller's proposal that its shareholders should be divided into two classes, with each needing to approve the terms.
AB InBev has put forward two variations of its offer: a straight 45 pounds per share intended for the majority of investors and a cash-and-shares offer aimed at SABMiller's two largest shareholders, Altria (MO.N: Quote) and the Santo Domingo family of Colombia. The two own 41 percent of SABMiller.
The combination is contentious because the cash-and-share offer is now worth more than the cash bid, though the new shares would have to be held for five years.
By splitting the vote, the deal would need backing from up to 85 percent of the shares rather than the 75 percent needed in a unified vote. Altria and Bevco, the Santo Domingo investment vehicle, have already signaled their support.
AB InBev and SABMiller shareholder meetings are scheduled for Sept. 28, with completion of the deal expected on Oct. 10 and trading of the yet to be named combined group slated for Oct. 11.
The timetable comes after a hectic Friday in which China first gave conditional approval for the merger. The SABMiller board also recommended acceptance, though it did say the deal was at the lower end of an acceptable range.
The deal, the largest ever in the consumer industry, would combine AB InBev's Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona with SABMiller's Castle Lager and take it into fast-growing African and new Latin American markets.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Pranav Kiran in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian and David Goodman)
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