SABMiller to scrutinise AB InBev mega deal
LONDON – The chairman of SABMiller said the brewer would consider the attractiveness of a R1 532billion offer by Anheuser Busch InBev after the merger had undergone the regulatory process.
The takeover of the London-listed brewer has come under scrutiny in recent weeks as a drop in the British currency has reduced the relative attractiveness of the all-cash offer aimed at SAB shareholders.
A source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday the company’s board was weighing the terms of AB InBev’s offer, amid rising shareholder disquiet.
At the company’s AGM yesterday, chairman Jan du Plessis said the board would consider the offer after receiving preconditions from Chinese regulators, and also take into account the drop in sterling since the UK’s vote in June to leave the EU.
The firm would then write to shareholders.
The maker of beers such as Castle Lager, Peroni and Grolsch earlier reported group net revenue fell 4% in its first quarter ended June 30, with volume flat.
Du Plessis described the pending takeover by AB InBev as a “significant distraction”, but said the deal was right for the company and its shareholders.
It received approval on Wednesday from US antitrust regulators, after the two companies agreed to sell assets and preserve competition from independent craft brewers.
Australia, Europe and South Africa have also cleared the deal.
The companies are waiting for China to approve it although a proposed sale of SABMiller’s stake in CR Snow was expected to lead to clearance.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
Some shareholders expressed concern yesterday about the impact of Brexit and the fall in sterling. Concerns were also voiced about a stock-andcash alternative structure, created as part of the takeover and designed for SAB’s biggest investors, cigarette maker Altria and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family.
Du Plessis defended the partial share alternative structure, saying it had been vital for securing approval of the takeover from the two major shareholders.