Australian brewer Foster's said Tuesday it has rejected a A$9.5bn (£6.18bn) cash takeover offer from beer-maker SABMiller, saying the bid undervalues the Australian company.
Foster's announcement came after beverages group Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA)amended the terms of a brewing joint venture with SABMiller, which enabled SABMiller to bid for Foster's.
London-based SABMiller, the world's second-biggest brewer by volume, made an unsolicited, nonbinding and conditional proposal of A$4.90 a share in cash for Foster's an 8% premium on Foster's last trading price of A$4.53.
"The board of Foster's believes that the proposal significantly undervalues the company in the context of a change of control and, as such, it does not intend to take any further action in relation to it," Melbourne-based Foster's said in a statement.
After the statement, Foster's shares jumped on the Australian market 13% to A$5.12, its highest price since February 2007. CCA shares climbed more than 1% to AU$11.46.
SABMiller said Foster's was attractive because it was Australia's leading brewer with seven of the top 10 beer brands, and buying the company was consistent with its strategy to spread globally.
Australia was an attractive market because of its population growth and economic connections to Asia, London-based SABMiller said.
SABMiller said it had a proven track record of integrating brewing companies and improving the performance of those businesses.
"We continue to believe that the proposal price is attractive and offers good value to Foster's shareholders," SABMiller chief executive Graham Mackay said.
The company would seek to engage with the Foster's board to get an agreed proposal to shareholders, MacKay said.
There has been much speculation that Foster's would become a takeover target of one of the global brewing giants, after Foster's sold off its underperforming wine businesses into a separately listed company in May.
Market analyst Peter Esho said other global brewers would be running the numbers on Foster's after its rejection of SABMiller's bid.
"If Foster's thinks the deal is undervalued, it needs to really convince the market that 2012 estimates for net profit of A$933m are too low," Esho said. "Until then, SABMiller can sit in the box seat and play its hand."
From / Guardian