SABMiller nears the end
Shareholders vote to accept AB InBev cash and shares
AB InBev’s year-long battle to acquire SABMiller is nearing its conclusion. SABMiller’s shareholders yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of ABI’s revised £45 a share or cash and shares offer, clearing the last potentially major hurdle to completion of the transaction.
SABMiller’s two largest shareholders, Altria and BEVCO, had previously accepted a cash and shares offer from AB InBev for their roughly 40% combined stake, and so did not take part in yesterday’s vote.
With the terms of the transaction also approved yesterday by AB InBev shareholders all that remains now prior to completion is the formality of a UK court sanction hearing on 4th October, and the delisting and cessation of trading of SABMiller’s shares on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges.
The transaction is scheduled to complete at 7pm GST on 10th October.
After months required to resolve regulatory issues in numerous markets worldwide, leading to the divestment of SABMiller operations in the US, China, and Grolsch and Peroni in Western Europe, the transaction was in danger of coming apart this summer following the British vote to leave the European Union and the subsequent collapse of the value of the pound.
This, combined with the dissatisfaction of some SABMiller shareholders with a cash-only option rather than the cash and shares offered Altria and BEVCO, led to a revised offer from AB InBev at the end of July. The cash offer was raise by a pound, to £45 per share, and a cash and share option was made available to all shareholders. The revised offer was approved by the SABMiller board on 29th July.
The SABMiller name is to disappear – unlike previous transactions where the acquirer has incorporated the acquired into their company name, as with Interbrew becoming AB InBev with its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, in this instance the combination will continue to be known as AB InBev – aka the “First Truly Global Brewer.”