Business News

AB InBev/SABMiller reach agreement in principle on key terms of offer

Terms reached on mega beer merger

The world's two biggest beer brewers edged one step closer to a takeover deal Tuesday with an announcement that they have agreed to a "pact in principle."

The agreement states that Belgium's Anheuser-Busch InBev would buy South Africa-based brewer SABMiller with the latter's shareholders being entitled to receive £44 per share ($67.60) in cash.

The press release on Tuesday morning also said that AB InBev would agree to a "best efforts" commitment to obtain any regulatory clearances required before the transaction. This included $3 billion payable to SABMiller in the event that the transaction fails to close as a result of the failure to obtain regulatory clearances or the approval of AB InBev shareholders.

The statement hedged that there can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made, adding that a further announcement will be released when appropriate.

Reports in the U.K. on Monday said Anheuser-Busch InBev had raised its proposed takeover offer for SABMiller to £43.50 a share, upping the stakes in the takeover battle after several failed attempts.

InBev brews beers such as Budweiser and Stella Artois while SABMiller's brands include Miller, Fosters, Grolsch and Peroni. The potential deal would create the world's most dominant brewing company and would be worth around £68 billion ($104 billion), according to Reuters.

The new proposal means that AB InBev now has until Oct. 28 to make a more formal offer. Shares of SABMiller rose more than 8 percent Tuesday, and its suitor's stock price was up 2 percent.

Bottles of SABMiller's Miller Lite and Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser beer.
Budweiser set for last-ditch charge at SAB : Sunday Times

John Colley, a professor at the U.K.'s Warwick Business School, told CNBC via email that AB InBev had offered a "reasonably full price" for SABMiller.

"Overall for once I would have said it is a decent deal for both shareholders as AB InBev probably will extract the synergies and consolidate a declining market." he said.

However, he said he expected substantial redundancies and cost savings over the next year and said product ranges are likely to be reviewed for possible consolidation.