By Ian Neubauer
The Foster’s Group beer division will be targeted for hostile takeover by the global brewing giants, according to industry experts and analysts.
Foster’s became the centre of attention this week when its board announced a strategic review of its under-performing wine business, a profit write-down and the resignation of CEO, Trevor O’Hoy.
While a demerger of Foster’s wine and beer assets is the most likely short-term solution, the company’s stand-alone beer division is expected to trigger a bidding war between potential suitors.
The most likely candidate is market leader SABMiller and its local partner Coca-Cola Amatil, which last year launched joint venture Pacific Beverages in a move that is now being seen as a precursor to bigger things.
Another potential suitor is Belgium giant InBev, which this week launched a takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch, makers of bestselling beer brands Budweiser and Stella Artois.
Europe’s largest brewer, Heineken, could also target Foster’s, following its successful acquisition of leading UK brewer Scottish and Newcastle in April.
Foster’s shares have alternatively gained and receded up to ten per cent of their value this week. At noon today they were trading at $5.45.
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