/ 6 February 2008

SABMiller secures $1,2-billion Grolsch takeover

SABMiller, the world’s second-biggest brewer, has acquired 94,7% of Grolsch NV shares, securing its €816-million ($1,2-billion) takeover of the Dutch brewer.

SABMiller, which has offered to buy Grolsch at €48,25 a share, said in a statement on Wednesday its bid was unconditional and shareholders who had not yet offered their shares could tender them until February 20.

About 79,9% of shares were tendered by Grolsch shareholders, in addition to 14,8% of shares it had bought, SABMiller said.

SABMiller had secured support from the key family shareholders which owned 37% of the Dutch brewer before making its bid.

The deal is a sign of consolidation in the global brewing industry as brewers look to cut costs as input prices for malting barley and aluminium cans have risen and to create a bigger platform for their top brands.

Denmark’s Carlsberg and Dutch Heineken agreed last month to buy and break up rival Scottish & Newcastle in a #pound;7,8-billion ($15,3-billion) takeover.

London-based SABMiller, which makes Miller Lite, Castle and Peroni beers, has said it planned to expand the Grolsch brand across Africa and Latin America, where the premium beer market is still in its infancy.

The Dutch company is best known for its Grolsch premium pilsner and its green swing-top bottles, first introduced in 1897. Grolsch currently makes the bulk of its income in The Netherlands. Britain is its second-biggest market.

SABMiller would become the world’s largest brewer, topping current leader InBev, and Heineken would move up a notch to become the world’s number three, assuming the Grolsch and S&N takeovers are finalised, researcher Plato Logic said on Tuesday. – Reuters