October 15, 2015
AB InBev Gets Even Bigger
Posted by Matt Bodie

The board at SABMiller PLC has formally accepted (right under the wire) the buyout offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV for £44 a share, or about $106 billion.  Aside from having too many names smushed together (will the new company be ABInBevSABM?), the company will be a global giant in beer production, with about a 30% share of world beer sales.  The WSJ has a really nice piece about how the deal finally came together.  A few thoughts:

  • There was a fair amount of intrigue between the first offer and the final agreement, as big SAB shareholder Altria Group came out in favor of a £42.15 deal that the board rejected.  But the board was right -- there was more money to be had from Brito et al.
  • A-B InBev would owe a $3 billion breakup fee if the deal fails to go through.  Is that the highest on record, or am I behind the times?
  • It seems like a foregone conclusion that the new company will have to dump its portion of the MillerCoors joint venture with Molson Coors.  That has to help Molson's bargaining position, no?  The Toronto Star seems to agree.  A good day for the Great White North yesterday!
  • Even if the new company jettisons Milller Lite & Coors Light, will the company still face antitrust scrutiny?  This Fortune article thinks beer drinkers will lose overall on the deal.  And AB InBev is getting scrutiny on another front -- the acquisition of some of their California distributors.  It could mean issues ahead -- anything from small speedbumps to a total roadblock.  I'm interested to see what the folks at the Truth have to say about it.  

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