SabMiller has rejected an informal takeover offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev of about £66.4bn (€59bn) that it considered too low, according to sources.
The initial proposal to the brewer of Peroni and Foster’s beer, made last week, was worth slightly over £40 a share, while its executives and some shareholders regard a deal at closer to £45 as representing a fair value, sources said.
A deal at £45 per share would value SabMiller at about £73bn, and would be the largest merger this year.
London-based SabMiller told AB InBev the terms at which it would be willing to negotiate after the rejection. No final decision has been made on a potential formal offer, and it is possible the Belgian producer of Budweiser and Stella Artois may walk away from a deal.
“AB InBev is unlikely to have gone this far unless it intends to see it through,” said Robert Ottenstein, an analyst at Evercore ISI. “We still believe that a transaction with SabMiller would be financially and strategically compelling, even at a potentially higher than previously assumed offer price.”
The head of the Public Investment Corp, a South African state-owned pension fund manager that is SabMiller’s fourth-largest shareholder, said yesterday he opposes a takeover as it could create a brewer that is too dominant, hurting consumers, as well as potentially removing the company from the Johannesburg stock exchange.
“I’m not in favour of it. We may be creating some kind of a monopoly which may have a serious impact on the global economy and beer market in general,” chief executive Daniel Matjila said.
Matjila declined to say which way the Pretoria-based PIC, which owns 3.14% of SabMiller, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, would vote on an offer.
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