Anheuser-Busch just sweetened its bid for SABMiller
Anheuser-Busch InBev has raised its bid for rival SABMiller, putting additional pressure on the U.K.-based takeover target to consider a tie-up between the world’s two largest brewers.
Under the new terms unveiled Monday, AB InBev (BUD) is proposing to pay 43.50 pounds ($66.77) per share, up from last week’s offer of 42.15 pounds, now valuing the potential takeover at $108.2 billion. The new offer is now the fourth time AB InBev has come to bargaining table with an increased bid, though it only went public last week after the third offer failed to win over SABMiller’s board.
Since that offer was officially unveiled on Wednesday, the companies have been jockeying for the upper hand in any future negotiations. The day the AB InBev offer went public, SABMiller rejected it and dismissed the bid as “very substantially” undervaluing the brewer of Miller, Coors, and Peroni. A day later, AB InBev – which makes Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s – said it was surprised by the rejection and floated complaints that SABMiller’s board had refused to meaningfully discuss the potential acquisition. On Friday, SABMiller responded by promising to find another $500 million a year in cost savings.
SABMiller representatives weren’t immediately available to comment on the offer that was disclosed Monday.
As Fortune reported last week, analysts and investors seemed to anticipate that a larger bid could come, as AB InBev clearly wants to tap SABMiller’s strength in emerging markets like Africa, where beer consumption greatly trails the global average. But observers say that there isn’t much room for SABMiller to demand a higher price, with analysts seeing only a few more bucks likely added to sweetened offers. Some observers are already betting a deal will ultimately occur, even with the divestitures in the U.S. and China markets that would be needed for regulators to sign off on the AB InBev-SABMiller transaction.