REPORT: The world's biggest beer deal just rose to £70 billion

Budweiser-owner AB InBev has reportedly raised its takeover offer for rival brewer SABMiller to £43.50 ($US66.85) a share, valuing the company at £70 billion ($US107.5 billion).

Sky News is reporting that AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, has made the improved offer after an earlier £42.15 ($US64.77) a share offer was rejected on Friday. No official word of a new offer has come from either side.

SABMiller, the world’s second-biggest brewer, is London-listed and under UK takeover laws both sides have until Wednesday to reach an agreement on a deal. Takeover talks were first revealed in mid-September.

SABMiller, which makes beers including Peroni, Grolsch, and Fosters, has been playing hardball with AB InBev, knocking back several takeover offers.

The company has a dominant market position in growth markets like Africa and India, while AB InBev’s core market, the US, is seeing stagnant sales. SABMiller holds all the cards and has repeatedly said AB InBev’s offer undervalues the company.

SAB is facing pressure from its biggest shareholder, Altria, to do a deal, but has promised a $US1 billion (£650 million) cost-cutting programme that it claims will deliver better value for investors.

In a note sent to clients on Friday, HSBC says it looks like SABMiller is using the exact same tactics as Anheuser-Busch used in its 2008 merger with InBev to drive the price higher.

Analyst Carlos Laboy and his team say:

Our take is that history is possibly repeating itself as this is nearly the identical, and ultimately successful, tactic A-B management used to force a higher bid from InBev from USD65 to USD70 in 2008.

A-B management made similar claims that InBev was undervaluing its world-class brands and also announced an acceleration of its brewery efficiency programme Blue Ocean, a cost reduction blue print which would eventually fall into ABI’s hands.

Very cheeky.

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