ABinBev makes reassuringly expensive SABMiller offer to create £180bn beer giant
Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev has unveiled a third improved offer for rival SABMiller to "build the first truly global beer company".
The new bid of £42.15 per share comes after previous bids of £38 and £40 were rejected by SABMiller, whose beers include Peroni and Grolsch.
AB inBev said its latest offer represented a premium of approximately 44% to SABMiller's closing share price.
The blockbuster deal, if accepted, would create a drinks giant worth more than £180 billion and be the biggest-ever takeover of a British company.
Belgium-based AB InBev - the world's biggest beer firm - includes Budweiser and Stella Artois in its stable of beers.
Shares in SABMiller have rocketed since AB InBev's takeover hopes were first revealed on September 16, although the stock was nearly 2% lower on SAB's currency woes highlighted in its latest trading update on Tuesday.
SABMiller's largest shareholder, Altria Group, has come out in support of the latest offer. It claimed the deal would create "significant value" for all SABMiller shareholders and urged the board to "engage promptly".
"Altria supports a proposal of £42.15, or higher, with a partial share alternative, and, subject to finalisation of terms, would be prepared to elect the partial share alternative.
"Altria urges SABMiller's board to engage promptly and constructively with AB InBev to agree on the terms of a recommended offer.
If AB InBev clinch the deal, it would rank in the top 10 takeovers in global corporate history.
SABMiller toasted a strong summer for beer sales On Tuesday despite a "material" currency hit.
SAB said surging demand in emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America helped underlying net revenues lift 6% and sales by volume rise by 2% over the three months to the end of September.
Good weather also saw net revenues rise 3% across Europe in the quarter, with its Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand remaining popular in the UK, although sales in the region remained flat overall in the first half and interim sales by volume fell 3%.
SAB revealed that the strong US dollar took its toll on reported results, with net revenues down by 9% in the second quarter and half-year as a whole.
AB InBev has a stable of more than 200 beers, including Corona, Beck's, Leffe and Hoegaarden.
SAB has Miller, Foster's, Coors and Bulmers cider. It employs around 69,000 people in more than 80 countries and has global annual sales of more than 26 billion US dollars (£17 billion).
Its suitor and larger rival AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, has a 155,000-strong global workforce and makes more than 47.1 billion US dollars (£30.5 billion) in global revenues.
SAB attempted to acquire Heineken a year ago but its advances were rebuffed.