New InBev offer appeals to Anheuser
Brewing giant InBev has upped its takeover bid for American rival Anheuser-Busch to $50bn (£25bn), and yesterday appeared confident of winning agreement to close the deal.
After a month-long stand off between the two firms, InBev increased its offer for the Budweiser maker to $70 a share, up from $65 a share, or $46.3bn. The sweetened bid reflects a premium of 33 per cent on Anheuser’s closing price before takeover rumours surfaced.
Yesterday the extra money on the table looked as if it had done the trick as Anheusers’s board agreed to discuss the merits of a deal after being vehemently opposed in recent weeks.
One of the things to be decided is the name of the new company, with Anheuser-Busch Inbev a gruesome possibility. There are likely to be two Busch family members on the combined board if the deal goes through.
InBev took its takeover hostile and announced in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it was seeking to replace the board with its own slate of directors. Anheuser retaliated by beginning proceedings to sue the maker of Stella Artois and Beck’s, accusing it of making “false and misleading statements” and saying it had assembled a “hand-picked board” to buy the firm at a discount.
The Busch family, who have significant investments in the firm, have been split over InBev’s offer. Adolphus A. Busch IV, the uncle of the current chief executive August A. Busch IV, publically said he supported a takeover and agreed to serve on InBev’s alternative board of directors.
Although Anheuser had said it would implement its own plan to cut costs, boost growth and boost its stock’s value, it always made it clear it would do a deal at the right price.
Although politicians in Anheuser’s home town of Missouri have opposed the deal, fearing it could lead to job cuts, InBev has promised to keep all of the firm’s breweries open and to keep the company’s headquarters in St. Louis.
Spokespeople for both Anheuser and InBev refused to comment.