Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV was granted another deadline extension by the U.K.’s Takeover Panel Wednesday for the submission of a formal offer for SABMiller Plc. The Belgian brewer now has until 5 p.m. GMT (12 p.m. EST) on Nov. 11 to submit a formal takeover offer.
The regulatory body had already extended the deadline once -- with the previous one set to expire at 12 p.m. EST Wednesday -- since the companies announced the $104 billion merger last month.
"SABMiller and AB InBev have made good progress in agreeing the terms of the Possible Offer which will be set out in detail in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer," the companies, which together control nearly 30 percent of the global beer market, said, in a statement released Wednesday, confirming that AB InBev had secured financing for the takeover of its rival.
According to reports, the issue of SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors -- which, unless disposed of, would give AB InBev control of 70 percent of the U.S. markets and draw scrutiny from regulators -- is complicating the deal. AB InBev is believed to be in talks with SABMiller to sell the latter’s 58 percent stake in MillerCoors to its joint venture partner -- North American brewer Molson Coors Brewing Co.
Since the merger was announced on Oct. 13, Molson Coors’ shares in New York have jumped nearly 12 percent, underscoring investors’ expectations that SABMiller would have to relinquish its ownership of MillerCoors.
The deal, which is the biggest-ever takeover of a British company, is also likely to face opposition from Chinese regulators, unless SABMiller ditches some of its assets in the country. The company currently has a 23 percent market share in China through its joint venture with government-backed China Resources Enterprise Ltd., while AB InBev has a 16 percent market share.