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.

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