Bud-Miller: Anheuser-Busch InBev sweetens offer to buy SABMiller
LONDON — Talk about being persistent!The world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has once again upped the offer to buy its chief rival SABMiller in an attempt to create a super brewery.
The latest bid values the maker of Miller Lite, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni at £67.3 billion ($103 billion).
AB InBev is now proposing £43.50 ($66.80) per share in cash to most investors, up from £42.15 last week.
For the deal to go through, SABMiller’s two biggest shareholders — Altria Group and Colombia’s BevCo — would have to accept an alternative cash and shares offer worth £38.88 ($59.6) per share, up from £37.49.
SABMiller has not commented on the latest offer.
The “Bud-Miller” would be the world’s largest beermaker by far, with nine of the world’s top 20 beers by volume, and annual sales of $55 billion.
So far, SABMiller has played hard to get. The brewer rejected three previous offers from AB InBev, at £38 ($58), £40 ($61) and £42.15 ($64.70) per share, saying they “very substantially undervalued” the company.
The company’s board voted unanimously against the first two bids, but its opinion on the £42.15 offer was split.
Board members representing SABMiller’s biggest shareholder voted to accept the offer, saying the combination of the two companies would create significant value for shareholders.
AB InBev then signaled it may be prepared to go hostile by appealing directly to SABMiller shareholders over the head of the company’s board.
The latest offer is a step in that direction. AB InBev said Monday it would not seek SABMiller board approval for the offer to the two main shareholders.
As younger drinkers turn in ever greater numbers to independent breweries, the global market leaders have been trying to defend their market share.
AB InBev has swallowed Seattle’s Elysian Brewing, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing and Chicago-based Goose Island in the last year or two.
SABMiller has also tapped into the craft beer scene, buying one of the UK’s most successful independents, London’s Meantime Brewing Company.
SABMiller shares fell 1.2% after the announcement. AB InBev shares were flat.
— Alanna Petroff contributed to this article.