SABMiller investors cheer $100 billion-plus AB InBev takeover
By Martinne Geller and Philip Blenkinsop
LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - SABMiller SAB.L shareholders overwhelmingly backed the brewer's $100 billion-plus takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote) on Wednesday, clearing the last big hurdle for one of the largest corporate mergers in history.
The combined group will sell more than a quarter of all beers sold worldwide and be the fifth largest consumer goods company. For the maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois it provides entry into Africa and large fast-growing Latin American markets such as Colombia and Peru.
It will also cut its revenue from mature markets North America and Europe to 37 from 47 percent.
AB InBev's 79 billion pound ($102.85 billion) bid passed in a meeting at a London Park Lane hotel lasting less than half an hour, overseen by Chairman Jan du Plessis, who fielded only two questions from shareholders.
It secured support representing 95.5 percent of SABMiller share value, having needed at least 75 percent to succeed.
In an earlier meeting in Brussels, AB InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito said the new entity would continue to be called Anheuser-Busch InBev, eschewing any corporate reference to SABMiller, founded 120 years ago in South Africa. The brewer had changed its name after transformative deals in the past, such as InBev's 2008 takeover of Anheuser-Busch.
"They can call it what they wish. That's the way life works and that's fine," du Plessis told reporters after the meeting. "It's what it is."
He added that AB InBev were paying "a full price". Continued...