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Beer giant AB InBev urges SABMiller to seize opportunity
[BRUSSELS] The world's biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, urged shareholders at rival beer giant SABMiller on Thursday to go against their board and accept a new takeover offer.
SABMiller - the British maker of Foster's, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell - rejected on Wednesday an improved US$103-billion takeover from Anheuser-Busch InBev, arguing the third attempt was too low.
But in a surprise twist, US tobacco giant Altria - which owns 27 per cent of SABMiller - told the British group to agree terms and AB InBev seized on the split.
"Our proposal creates significant value for everybody," Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said in a statement.
"If shareholders agree that we should be in proper discussions, they should voice their views and should not allow the Board of SABMiller to frustrate this process and let this opportunity slip away," he added.
AB InBev said the rejection "lacked credibility" given that the offer represented a premium of about 44 per cent to SABMiller's closing share price on September 14 when reports of takeover talks first emerged.
Also, it said Altria "has publicly stated that it supports our proposal".
A deal would create a global "megabrewer" worth about 220 billion euros (S$350 billion).
The big brewers are looking for tie-ups to offset the inroads made by small independent brewers catering to local demand for craft beers and other less brand-heavy products.
SABMiller shareholders rejected two previous offers at 38 pounds and then 40 pounds.