AB InBev Raises Bid For SABMiller

Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) raised its bid for rival brewer SABMiller in an attempt to quash investor dissent. In the light of exchange rate volatility and market movements, the company raised its bid to 45 pounds a share, up from 44 pounds in October. AB InBev said the revised terms were final. Under British law, that means the price is set unless the bidder drops its offer and waits six months to make another.

The original $100 billion-plus offer was made less attractive by a post Brexit vote fall in the pound. When the original bid was officially launched in November, it was worth around $106 billion based on exchange rates at the time. That original bid has since dropped in value to roughly $100 billion. The new offer values SABMiller at around 79 billion pounds ($103.6 billion).

The company also revised the terms of an alternative share-and-cash offer designed for SABMiller’s two largest shareholders Altria and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family, who together own about 41 percent of SABMiller. AB InBev said the share-and-cash offer value was now 51.14 pounds, but the new shares offered would have to be held for at least five years. The rise of AB InBev shares in the past nine months has made the alternative option more attractive. AB InBev shares are more than 35 percent higher than in October.

At last week’s annual general meeting, several shareholders voiced concerns that the cash deal had become less attractive and was below a share-and-cash alternative. The share and cash offer had been worth less than the all-cash option last year. For a foreign dollar-based investor, the cash offer dropped 12 percent since the vote on the referendum on June 23.

AB InBev, currently the world’s largest brewer, decided to try and take over its nearest rival to secure attractive markets in Latin America and Africa. SABMiller provisionally agreed the deal struck in October. The two brewing giants had expected to close their merger in the second half of this year. A number of activist investors bought stakes in SABMiller after the announcement of the deal.

Both companies spent months pursuing regulatory approval for the merger around the world. The deal has already been approved by competition authorities in the U.S., the European Union, South Africa and several other jurisdictions. The takeover is still awaiting regulatory approval in China.

There has been no talk about an agreement on the terms of the revised offer. SABMiller said it would consult with shareholders before formally considering the revised offer. The company has taken on Centerview Partners as a new financial advisor. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, one of SABMiller’s major investors, said the new offer is still unacceptable as it undervalues the company.