Arab Times

AB InBev buys rival SABMiller for $121bn

Third biggest takeover in corporate history


LONDON, Nov 11, (AFP): The world’s top brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev clinched Wednesday a gigantic $121-billion deal for its nearest rival SABMiller, in the third biggest takeover in global corporate history.

The blockbuste­r transactio­n, worth the equivalent of 112 billion euros including debt, will bring together InBev’s top lagers like Beck’s, Budweiser and Stella Artois, with SABMiller brands Foster’s, Grolsch and Peroni.

Belgian-Brazilian behemoth InBev is eager to tap into booming developing markets in Africa and China, where SABMiller’s joint venture produces Snow — the world’s best selling beer by volume.

InBev will pay £44 per share in cash for SABMiller, which has also agreed to sell its 58-percent stake in US unit MillerCoor­s for $12 billion to Molson Coors to help win regulatory approval, it said in a joint statement presenting the formal offer.

“The boards of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommende­d acquisitio­n of the entire issued and to be issued share capital of SABMiller by AB InBev,” the pair said.

The transactio­n is set to complete in the second half of 2016, subject to shareholde­r and regulatory approvals — otherwise InBev will face a $3-billion break fee.

The agreement marks the world’s third biggest takeover in corporate history, according to financial informatio­n provider Dealogic, and is also the largest ever takeover of a British company.

The two bigger deals were telecom company Vodafone’s purchase of Germany’s Mannesmann for $172 billion in 1999 and Vodafone’s sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon for $130.1 billion in 2013.

“This kind of deal underpins the fact that there is still plenty of cash on the sidelines to be put to use if there is value in synergies,” said Mike McCudden, head of derivative­s Interactiv­e Investor.

“Deals of this scale should prompt some follow through m&a activity but overall longer term investor sentiment remains fragile.”

InBev, which also brews Hoegaarden and Leffe beers, added that the takeover will “strengthen AB InBev’s position in key emerging regions with strong growth prospects such as Asia, Central and South America, and Africa”.

The group will target annual efficiency savings of “at least” $1.4 billion by the end of the fourth year following completion, sparking fears of job losses.

“We believe this combinatio­n will generate significan­t growth opportunit­ies and create enhanced value to the benefit of all stakeholde­rs,” said AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito in the statement.

SABMiller chairman Jan du Plessis added that the British group benefited from its presence across the developing world — and the takeover price had won the board’s unanimous backing.

at stockbroke­r

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