AB InBev’s wooing of SABMiller really isn’t going to plan. If it does manage to buy its rival it looks like it’ll have to be a forced marriage, after it accused SABMiller of lacking ‘credibility’ for rejecting a third takeover offer. No love lost there then.
SABMiller, which makes Peroni and Carling, turned down a third bid of £42.15 yesterday. Had it gone through, the £65bn takeover would have been the third largest ever, according to Dealogic data cited by the FT.
The offer ‘still very substantially undervalues SABMiller, its unique and unmatched footprint, and its standalone prospects,’ the British-South African brewer said in a terse statement.
AB InBev, which had gone to the effort of creating a special website to champion the prospective deal, expressed its ‘surprise’ this morning. The latest rejection ‘lacks credibility’, the Belgian-Brazilian beer behemoth argued, as the offer was 44% higher than SABMiller’s share price before news of its interest broke in September (shares were down 0.3% today to £36.22p at midday).
SABMiller's shares shot up in mid-September on news of a potential deal. Credit: Yahoo Finance
It also pointed out had the support of SABMiller’s largest shareholder, American cigarette maker Altria. However, chief executive Carlos Brito had to do a volte-face yesterday, after implying he also had the support of the second-largest investor BevCo, the investment vehicle of Colombia’s Santo Domingo family.
'Notwithstanding our good faith efforts, the Board of SABMiller has refused to meaningfully engage with us,’ Brito said. ‘How long will it be before shareholders see a value of over GBP 42 in the absence of an offer from AB InBev?’
‘If shareholders agree that we should be in proper discussions, they should voice their views and should not allow the Board of SABMiller to frustrate this process and let this opportunity slip away.’
Sounds like the words of a man who knows the Takeover Panel’s deadline for formally agreeing to tie to the knot is just six days away.