SABMiller rejects AB InBev’s revised $104B buyout offer

UK-based brewer SABMiller on Wednesday rejected Belgian firm Anheuser-Busch InBev's revised £68 billion ($104 billion) takeover offer, the third time it has rebuffed the bigger rival.

In a response to the AB InBev's revised offer, London-listed SABMiller said in a statement it did not like the terms of the proposal. SABMiller chairman Jan du Plessis said the new offer still undervalued the company "very substantially".

Earlier in the day, AB InBev had approached the SABMiller board for a possible merger with its third offer. AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, had previously made two proposals in private to its nearest rival, the first for £38 a share in cash and the second for £40 in cash. The third was for £42.15 per share in cash. The proposal represented a premium of about 44 per cent to SABMiller's closing share price of £29.34 on September 14.

In a separate statement, SABMiller’s biggest shareholder, US-based tobacco giant Altria Group Inc, said it supported the current offer, including the share alternative, and recommended that SABMiller’s management engage promptly and constructively in talks.

Altria Group Inc and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family together own 41 per cent of SABMiller.

SABMiller had announced on September 15 that AB InBev had approached it about a takeover to create a company worth about $280 billion. Under UK takeover rules, AB InBev was given until October 14 to make a firm offer or walk away unless SABMiller asked for the deadline to be extended.

If AB InBev's bid succeeds, the combined group would make almost one-third of all beer consumed globally. The deal would also face intense scrutiny given the dominant position of the two firms in the business.

AB InBev makes Budweiser and Bud Light among other labels. It has 155,000 employees in 25 countries. The company is listed in Brussels and New York.

SABMiller employs 69,000 people in more than 80 countries. It makes over 200 beers including Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch.

In the year ended March 31, 2015, SABMiller sold 324 million hectolitres of lager, soft drinks and other alcoholic beverages, generating group net producer revenue of $26.28 billion and EBITA of $6.3 billion.

It is also the second-largest beer maker in India and is better known for selling under brands such as Foster's, Haywards 5000, Knockout and Royal Challenge.

The third-biggest brewer globally is Heineken, which recently hiked its stake in India's top beer maker United Breweries that sells Kingfisher beer.

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