The largest brewer in the world upped its offer to $103 billion and was rejected–but a deal may be in the works.
LONDON—The world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, turned up the heat Thursday on SABMiller urging the British rival’s shareholders to accept a new $103-billion takeover bid despite fierce opposition from management.
Belgian-Brazilian titan AB InBev, which produces Budweiser and Stella Artois lagers, issued the appeal a day after launching its third takeover tilt at the London-listed maker of Foster’s and Grolsch.
The improved bid — pitched at £42.15 per share and worth £68 billion or 92 billion euros — was rejected by the SABMiller board as being too low.
But US tobacco giant Altria — which owns 27 percent of SABMiller — called on the British group Wednesday to engage promptly and agree terms.
“Our proposal creates significant value for everybody,” said AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito in Thursday’s statement.
“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.”
AB InBev said the rejection “lacked credibility” given that the offer represented a premium of about 44 percent to SABMiller’s closing share price on September 14 when reports of takeover talks first emerged.
The brewer also noted that Marlboro cigarette maker Altria “has publicly stated that it supports our proposal”.