Business

AB InBev raises offer for SABMiller

Bottles of Budweiser

Budweiser owner AB InBev has raised its takeover offer for rival SABMiller after a fall in the pound made its original offer less attractive.

The offer was raised by £1 a share to £45 a share, valuing SABMiller at about £79bn, up from £70bn previously.

SABMiller said the two brewing firms had discussed the deal last week "in light of recent exchange rate volatility and market movements".

The pound has lost about 12% against the dollar since the UK referendum.

The deal, agreed last year, will create the world's largest beer firm, producing about 30% of the world's beer.

SABMiller, maker of Pilsner Urquell, said it would now consult with shareholders and that "a further announcement will be made thereafter".

AB InBev, which also counts Stella Artois and Corona amongst its brands, said this latest offer was final.

The increased offer comes after major investors in SABMiller argued the fall in sterling made their part in the deal worth less.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption SABMiller, which owns Pilsner Urquell, is putting the new offer to shareholders

The way in which the deal is structured means that investors can receive either a cash component or a share of the new company - a partial share agreement (PSA) as it is known. The share agreement was designed specifically for SAB's two biggest shareholders Altria and Bevco, who wanted to keep a stake in the new company.

But since last November, when the merger was agreed, the cash value is now worth less in dollar terms, while the shares are now worth more.

Aberdeen Asset Management, an SABMiller shareholder, said the latest revision was still not good enough.

"The revised deal remains unacceptable as it both undervalues the company and continues to favour SABMiller's two major shareholders," it said in a statement.

AB InBev would like the deal to be completed by the end of this year. It has cleared most regulatory hurdles and is just waiting for final approval from China.

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