Belfast Telegraph

Rival's £68bn takeover offer is small beer, says SABMiller

By Holly Williams

Beer giant SABMiller has rebuffed a sweetened £68bn takeover proposal from rival and Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, claiming it "very substantially undervalues" the business.

The Peroni and Grolsch firm said its board was unanimous in rejecting AB InBev's latest approach of £42.15 a share - having already turned down two offers of £38 and £40 a share.

AB InBev has previously said it does not want to make a hostile move for SABMiller, but turned up the heat earlier by making public details of its proposal, adding it was "disappointed" that SABMiller had rejected its prior approaches "without any meaningful engagement".

A tie-up between the two would create a global beer giant worth more than £180bn.

But SABMiller said the £42.15 a share offer "still very substantially undervalues SABMiller, its unique and unmatched footprint, and its standalone prospects".

Earlier, SABMiller chairman Jan du Plessis said his firm was the "crown jewel of the global brewing industry".

He added: "AB InBev needs SABMiller, but has made opportunistic and highly conditional proposals, elements of which have been deliberately designed to be unattractive to many of our shareholders."

AB inBev said its latest offer represented a premium of around 44% to SABMiller's closing share price.

Chief executive Carlos Brito said: "Put simply, we believe we can achieve more together than each of us could separately, bringing more beers to more people and enhancing value for all of our stakeholders."

SABMiller's largest shareholder, Altria Group, had come out in support of the latest offer, claiming the deal would create "significant value" for all SABMiller shareholders.

It said: "Altria urges SABMiller's board to engage promptly and constructively with AB InBev to agree on the terms of a recommended offer."

Shares in SABMiller have rocketed since AB InBev's takeover hopes were revealed on September 16.

AB InBev is the world's biggest beer business, while SABMiller is the global number two.

Belgium-based AB InBev has a stable of more than 200 beers, including Corona, Beck's, Leffe and Hoegaarden.

SABMiller has brands such as 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 $26bn (£17bn). Its suitor AB InBev has a 155,000-strong global workforce and makes more than $47.1bn US dollars (£30.5bn) in global revenues.

SABMiller attempted to acquire Heineken a year ago, but its advances were reb uffed.

Belfast Telegraph