It’s a deal: AB InBev clears final hurdle to takeover SABMiller as shareholders back merger

AB InBev and SABMiller’s shareholders voted separately on Wednesday in favour of the merger of both companies.

SABMiller’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger in London with 95.5% of the shareholders accepting AB InBev’s £45-a-share offer.

This follows a vote in Brussels earlier in the day, where AB InBev’s shareholders voted in favour of the merger. At the same meeting, AB InBev announced the merged entities would keep the AB InBev name.

It was a bit of a disappointment to SABMiller’s rank and file at the meeting that the enlarged company will bear AB InBev’s name without any consideration to SABMiller’s long history.

But Jan du Plessis, SABMiller’s chairman and boardroom veteran who bid AB InBev’s price up, said after the brief meeting: “AB InBev are paying a full price for the company; they can do with the company what they wish, they can call it what they wish; that’s the way life works and that’s fine. That’s the way it is.”

AB InBev takeover of SABMiller will give it access to the growing African beer market, where it had no presence and in parts of Latin America where it didn’t already have a presence.

Analysts say that AB InBev would still have to grapple with changing consumer taste, the rise of craft beer in developed markets and the economic upheavals in emerging markets.

SABMiller said it expects its shares will be de-listed from the Johannesburg Stock exchange on Friday and likely from the London Stock Exchange on 5 October, if the UK court sanctions the UK scheme on 4 October. The transaction is expected to close on 10 October, a trading of the unified companies will begin on 11 October.

The merger marks a somber end to the former South African Breweries 120-year history as an independent company.

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