SABMiller suspends action on integration with AB InBev as it considers new offer
SABMiller has put on hold integrating its operations with those of Anheuser-Busch InBev while it considers new offer made by the brewer raising concerns the deal might be in jeopardy.
AB InBev, which is nearing completion of the acquisition of SABMiller increased its cash offer on Tuesday to £45 per share to stop a revolt by SABMiller’s shareholders who have seen the value of their investment decline fallowing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
SABMiller’s CEO Alan Clark said in a memo sent to employees that all convergence planning has been “paused” and there should be no contact with representatives of AB InBev as the board considers the offer.
Clark added that he recognizes the move will cause “Internal and External speculation” and he’ll update workers as soon as possible.
One analyst said it was possible that SABMiller was simply moving cautiously.
“We do not consider it a sign SAB is considering changing its recommendation of the transaction,” St. Louis-based investment firm Stifel said in a statement. “Rather, we believe it is a symptom of fiduciary duty.”
The pause comes after SABMiller noted that it was surprised by what AB InBev said was its “final” offer. Under U.K. takeover rules, a final offer can’t be increased.
“The board needs to consider the revised offer, taking into account all facts and circumstances,” Clark wrote.