AB InBev ups bid for SABMiller as deadline looms
AB InBev today confirmed it is offering SABMiller a cash offer of £43.50 per share, with a partial share alternative for around 41% of the shares.
The offer is a raise on the attempts made by AB InBev last week (at £38, £40 and then £42.15 per share). These were turned down by SABMiller, who said the proposals ‘very substantially undervalued’ the company. AB InBev, in turn, said it was ‘surprised’ by the reaction from SABMiller.
Today’s offer of £43.50 per share is around 48% up on SABMiller’s share price before renewed speculation about a takeover began, says AB InBev (using the benchmark of £29.34 on September 14).
SABMiller is seeking closer to £45 per share, according to Bloomberg, who quotes people familiar with the discussions.
As per the UK’s City Code on Takeovers and Mergers, AB InBev has until 5pm on Wednesday 14 October to announce a firm intention to make an offer, or state it does not intend to make an offer.
Today’s proposal is conditional on shareholders Altria Group and BevCo electing the partial share alternative. (Altria Group stated last week it supported an offer of £42.15 per share or higher from AB InBev).
SABMiller shareholders who elect the partial share alternative would have their SABMiller shares valued at £38.88, up 33% on the price of £29.34, says AB InBev.
AB InBev says it anticipates that most SABMiller shareholders, aside from Altria and BevCo, would elect for the cash offer.
Time is ticking
On Friday AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito called on SABMiller shareholders to voice their support for discussions between the two brewing giants, warning that the board should not ‘let this opportunity slip away.’
The challenge of regulatory hurdles in US and China, is among the issues appearing to add friction to the deal.
Creating a 'truly global beer company' would give strong growth prospects in Africa, Central and Latin America, and Asia, said AB InBev CEO Brito: all of which are key growth regions.
Last week, while explaining how the mega-brewer would be set out, he pledged that AB InBev would be proactive in addressing regulatory issues (particularly concerning the US and China).
The story so far
On September 16, lengthy rumours of a tie-up between AB InBev and SABMiller were clarified, when AB InBev announced it had approached SABMiller with the intention of making a proposal to acquire the company.
Last Wednesday AB InBev announced it had made an offer to SABMiller, of £42.15 per share in cash, with a partial share alternative for 41% of shares. This proposal was turned down later the same day by SABMiller’s board (excluding the directors nominated by Altria Group).