SABMiller Spurns Anheuser-Busch for Third Time

While SABMiller said AB InBev's revised $104 billion offer is inadequate, Wall Street appears optimistic a deal will eventually be done.
Katie Kuehner-HebertOctober 7, 2015

SABMiller’s board on Wednesday rebuffed Anheuser-Busch InBev for a third time, saying the rival beer giant’s improved $104 billion takeover offer was inadequate.

AB InBev’s offer to pay 42.15 pounds, or about $63.97, a share in cash for SABMiller is a 16% premium to the closing price in London on Tuesday and a 44% premium to the closing price in mid-September, before merger talks began.

SABMiller said in a news release that the revised bid “still very substantially undervalues SABMiller, its unique and unmatched footprint, and its standalone prospects.”

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But The Wall Street Journal reports that investors appear somewhat optimistic about the prospects for a deal between the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 brewers, as both stocks moved higher.

“AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito is now pushing to woo SABMiller’s shareholders,” the WSJ noted, and the company has already convinced one key shareholder, U.S. tobacco company Altria Group, to accept its latest deal.

Altria said Wednesday that “a combination of these two companies would create significant value for all SABMiller shareholders.”

“Altria urges SABMiller’s board to engage promptly and constructively with AB InBev to agree on the terms of a recommended offer,” the company said in a news release.

To get the takeover done, analysts at Evercore ISI predict that AB InBev will need to step up its price tag for SABMiller further to at least 43 pounds ($65.88).

SABMiller Chairman Jan du Plessis has described the brewer as “the crown jewel of the global brewing industry, uniquely positioned to continue to generate decades of standalone future volume and value growth for all SABMiller shareholders from highly attractive markets.”

“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,” he said.

Bernstein Securities told Reuters that SABMiller would most likely eventually accept AB InBev’s advances, leading to a higher bid after the extension of an Oct. 14 deadline for AB InBev to reveal its intentions.

SABMiller shares were up 0.9% at 36.54 pounds in trading Wednesday, while AB InBev’s were 1.4% higher at 99.42 euros.