SABMiller in Foster’s boost

City A.M. Reporter
AUSTRALIA’S competition watchdog yesterday gave the green light to SABMiller’s A$10bn (£6.3bn) friendly acquisition of brewer Foster’s Group as expected, saying the bid would not lessen competition.

SABMiller and Fosters last week agreed on a sweetened A$9.9bn takeover deal.

“The proposed acquisition is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition for the supply of beer,” said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC backing comes after the Foster’s board agreed to accept SABMiller’s raised offer of A$5.10 plus a capital return and dividend last week, after a three-month battle by SABMiller to win over management at the Australian brewer.

Key shareholders also backed the improved deal, with only an outside chance of a rival offer now posing a threat.

Foster’s chairman David Crawford wrote to shareholders on Tuesday, saying the “significantly improved offer from SABMiller is a compelling proposal and represents the value inherent in this iconic Australian company.”

The tone was in contrast to the response to the initial approach which was snubbed by the board, who said the firm was being undervalued.

SABMiller then approached shareholders directly before the sweetened deal was given the backing of the Foster’s board.