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Heineken NV Rejects SABMiller Takeover Bid

September 15, 2014

Third-ranked global brewer Heineken has rebuffed an acquisition proposal by second-ranked SABMiller, saying it had consulted with its majority shareholder, the Heineken family—which controls slightly more than 50% of voting shares—and deemed the bid “nonactionable.”

The offer, originally reported by Bloomberg, was widely seen as a defensive play on SABMiller’s part to prevent a takeover of its own business by global brewing leader Anheuser-Busch InBev. Speculation about AB InBev targeting SABMiller as part of a final round of consolidation in the worldwide beer business has ramped up over the summer. At press time, SABMiller’s shares were surging after a Wall Street Journal report this morning asserting that AB InBev is in talks with banks toward a $122 billion bid for SABMiller.

According to Impact Databank, SABMiller’s global volume rose 1.2% to 245 million hectoliters in 2013 (including its 49% stake in China Resources Enterprise, which markets leading global beer brand Snow). Heineken, by comparison, enjoyed 3.8% growth to 178 million hectoliters last year. Combined, the two companies would surpass AB InBev’s volume by nearly 50 million hectoliters. AB InBev posted a 1% volume decline to 377 million hectoliters in 2013.

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