UPDATE: 8:13 a.m. EDT -- SABMiller Plc has rejected a bid from Anheuser-Busch InBev that valued the former at 65 billion pounds ($99.55 billion), according to media reports.
SABMiller reportedly rejected the deal because it considered the offer as undervaluing the company, Bloomberg reported. However, InBev is expected to come back with a counteroffer, which if successful, could create a global brewing giant.
“This is not, in our view, intended as ABI’s concluding proposal," said James Edwardes Jones, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, according to Bloomberg. "But it is likely to put pressure on SAB’s management to engage and at least there is now a formal proposition to discuss."
Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev raised its bid Wednesday for SABMiller Plc, the world’s second-largest brewer. In a statement, the Belgian company said it has made a proposal to buy SABMiller for 42.15 pounds ($64.3) per share in cash, valuing the company at 68.24 billion pounds ($104 billion).
The proposal represents a premium of about 44 percent over SABMiller’s closing share price of 29.34 on Sept. 14 -- a day before speculation arose of a takeover bid by AB InBev.
“AB InBev has made two prior written proposals in private to SABMiller, the first at GBP 38.00 per share in cash and the second at GBP 40.00 per share in cash,” the Belgian company, which makes Budweiser and Stella Artois, said, in the statement. “AB InBev is disappointed that the Board of SABMiller has rejected both of these prior approaches without any meaningful engagement.”
SABMiller announced last month that AB InBev, which makes Budweiser and Stella Artois, had approached it regarding a takeover. The deal, if it materializes, would be the biggest ever takeover of a British company, and create a brewing giant worth $250 billion that would produce a third of the world’s beer.
SABMiller shares opened sharply higher Wednesday, and were trading up 3 percent. And Altria Group Inc, SABMiller’s largest shareholder with a 27 percent stake, said it supported the latest proposal.
“Altria believes that a combination of these two companies would create significant value for all SABMiller shareholders,” the company said, in a statement released Wednesday. “Altria urges SABMiller’s board to engage promptly and constructively with AB InBev to agree on the terms of a recommended offer.”
Under U.K. takeover rules, AB InBev has until 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 to announce a “firm intention” -- Wednesday’s proposal does not count as one -- to make an offer for SABMiller.