AL brewer SABMiller is set to launch its formal takeover for Foster’s Group this month after an Australian regulator rejected its claim that Foster’s had made misleading financial statements as part of a hostile A$9.5bn (£6.3bn) bid battle.
SABMiller had hoped to rattle the Foster’s takeover defence by casting doubt on its financial statement. The ruling allowed both sides to claim victory as it dismissed doubts over Foster’s financial forecasts but did force Foster’s to clarify its net debt position.
The Takeovers Panel yesterday dismissed SABMiller’s claims that Foster’s had made “misleading and deceptive” forward looking statements over future sales and earnings growth.
Both parties accepted the panel’s decision and SABMiller is now likely to launch its bid document, which could come as early as next week, at the same cash price of A$4.90 a Foster’s share as originally proposed, sources close to the situation said.
“SABMiller is ready to go, so this ruling gives it the green light to formalise its bid as soon as possible at the same price,” said one source with knowledge of the situation.
SABMiller said it accepted the panel’s determination and is “pleased that Foster’s has now clarified its debt position”.
Foster’s had dismissed the claims by its suitor, which related to statements Foster’s had made in its full-year results late last month.