Big Beer Deal Could Fall Flat Thanks To Brexit

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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The beverage conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) raised the price of its original acquisition deal offered to London-based company SABMiller because of currency fluctuations after Brexit.

AB InBev’s original deal, which was announced in October, offered SABMiller 44 pounds per share (around $67.59) at the time. Following the United Kingdom’s approval of a referendum to exit the European Union, the pound’s value dropped relative to the dollar. Forty-four pounds is now worth approximately $57.77, according to calculations completed during the time this article was written.

AB InBev doesn’t want the opportunity to slip through its hands and is still very interested in completing the agreement. Many of SABMiller’s shareholders are not too enthused about receiving the struggling pound, and AB InBev is attempting to entice them with a one pound increase to 45 pounds a share.

AB InBev is the world largest beverage company and SABMiller is the second largest. If the two combine, it would create an industry behemoth with approximately 30 percent of global beer sales, according to The New York Times.

AB InBev’s end goal seems to be for global beverage domination. The company wants to carve a sphere of influence in Africa, a part of the world where its business does not pervade. In fact, it wants this merger to happen so badly that AB InBev achieved an agreement with the South African government in April. The accord established a $69 million investment fund for community resources, like fostering local manufacturing jobs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In a press release published Tuesday, AB InBev said while it definitely wants the deal to continue forward, it will not change the offer again. “AB InBev confirms that this offer is final and that it will not further increase the Cash Consideration or the cash element or the exchange ratio,” the statement reads.

Aberdeen Asset Management, an SABMiller stockholder, released a statement expressing its aversion to the deal. “We have engaged with SABMiller’s board on the differential treatment of shareholders since the deal was first constructed. The way that the value of the partial share offer has diverged from the cash offer has compounded our discomfort.”

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