By Ian Neubauer
The hostility that arose in the wake of InBev’s failed attempt to acquire US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch (A-B) for $47.5billion has simmered after the Belgian brewer upped it offer by more than $3billion.
Tensions flared after A-B, maker of the Budweiser family of beers, rejected InBev’s offer a fortnight ago, stating it was inadequate and not in the best interest of shareholders.
InBev reacted by seeking to replace A-B’s existing board of directors with hand-picked nominees, while the US brewer counter-reacted by drawing attention to InBev’s partnership with the blacklisted Cuban government and its brewing business there.
However, speculation that the salvos lacked substance and A-H’s board was simply playing the Europeans for a higher offer gained traction over the weekend after InBev lifted its offer from $67.24 to $72.41 per share.
A-B has now agreed for the first time to hold direct talks with InBev, with a deal expected to materialise in the near future.
A successful takeover will make InBev the largest brewing consortium in the world and knock London-based SABMiller from the number one spot.
It could also urge either one of the giants to make a play on Foster’s brewing business, which has been touted as an attractive target for a hostile takeover following speculation Foster’s might liquidate its poorly performing wine assets.