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Glass looks half full for Anheuser-Busch InBev's Megabrew takeover of SABMiller

Francesca Washtell
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AB InBev will be pouring itself a full pint tomorrow if the deal is cleared (Source: Getty)

The glass is looking half full for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s £79bn takeover of FTSE 100-listed drinks group SABMiller ahead of the final shareholder vote tomorrow.

Sources close to the deal, dubbed Megabrew, are confident it will avoid any last minute glitches.

Minority investors in SABMiller will vote on the tie-up tomorrow morning at a High Court and general meeting. The deadline for proxy votes was Monday morning.

AB InBev will need to gain at least 75 per cent approval from smaller investors to seal the deal.

Last month, the High Court ruled SABMiller shareholders could be split into two classes when voting on the tie-up.

Read more: EU antitrust regulators wave through Megabrew

This separated smaller investors, who are voting on a £45 per share all-cash option, from the two majority stock holders, cigarette maker Altria and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family, who have access to a joint stock and cash option.

Altria and the Santo Domingo family announced last month they had fully consented to the deal and, as a result, would not need to vote. They hold around 40 per cent of SABMiller’s stock.

Fears have emerged in recent weeks that Megabrew could be derailed by the minority shareholder vote, following reports that multiple US hedge funds had failed to convert their holdings into shares with voting rights.

This raised concerns that a relatively small number of investors would be left with the power to block the deal.

Read more: AB InBev offers to sell more SABMiller brands to secure Megabrew deal

Although SABMiller’s board has urged shareholders to vote in favour of the deal, which AB InBev topped up from its original £44 per share offer, some groups, such as Aberdeen Asset Management, still plan to vote against it.

If the vote passes, it will become the biggest takeover in British corporate history.

In a bid to push Megabrew through, AB InBev has had to sell off numerous brands to satisfy antitrust regulators in more than 20 jurisdictions, including Europe, South Africa, the US and China.

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