Heineken N.V. (AMS:HEIA), the Netherlands-based beer maker, has rejected an acquisition offer from SABMiller plc (JSE:SAB), a multinational brewing and beverage company headquartered in London.
The Dutch brewer announced the decision to spurn the takeover proposal from SABMiller in a statement on Sunday, saying that the company wants to remain independent and added that it does not intend to make any further public statements about the bid. SABMiller reportedly approached Heineken in the last two weeks.
Heineken "has consulted with its majority shareholder and concluded that SABMiller's proposal is non-actionable,” the company said, in the statement, adding that the Heineken family intended "to preserve the heritage and identity...as an independent company.”
Although Heineken’s controlling family refused to accept the deal as it wants to retain control of the 34 billion-euro ($44 billion) company, SABMiller is assessing its next move, Bloomberg reported, adding that the deal would have made the Heineken family one of the largest shareholders in the combined company, while SABMiller would have added more than $25 billion in sales.
Amsterdam-based Heineken runs over 165 breweries in more than 70 countries. However, according to Bloomberg, its main market continues to be Western Europe where it is coping with falling demand and new competitors.
SABMiller’s attempt to buy Heineken is being viewed as a strategy to protect itself from a potential takeover by Belgian giant Anheuser Busch Inbev SA (NYSE:BUD), which has reportedly spent nearly $100 billion over the past decade in acquiring Budweiser, Corona and other famous beer brands.
“For SAB, a way of preserving their independence is to buy Heineken,” Matthew Beesley, portfolio manager and head of global equities at London-based Henderson Global Investors, told Bloomberg. “It’s easy to underestimate the desire for management teams to be in control of their own destiny rather than to sell their business at a very high price.”
SABMiller has acquired many companies on its journey to become the world’s second largest brewery from its roots as a small South African company. In 2005, SABMiller purchased Colombia's Bavaria followed by the acquisition of Netherlands’ Grolsch in 2007. The company also bought Foster’s Group in 2011, Reuters reported.