The battle for control of family-run US brewer Anheuser-Busch has taken a dramatic turn as Belgian rival InBev is set to launch a hostile takeover following Anheuser-Busch's rejection.
The US brewer finally gave its verdict on the proposed takeover by InBev yesterday and rejected the approach outright. The offer of $65 per share was described as being financially inadequate and not in the best interests of shareholders.
"InBev's proposal significantly undervalues the unique assets and prospects of Anheuser-Busch," said Patrick Stokes, chairman of the board. "The proposed price does not reflect the strength of Anheuser-Busch's global, iconic brands … and also undervalues the earnings growth actions that the company had already planned, which have significant potential for shareholder value creation; the company's market position in the US; and the high value of its existing strategic investments."
The rejection, which comes two weeks after the initial offer was made, was communicated in a letter sent by fifth-generation president and CEO August Busch IV of Anheuser-Busch to Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev. Click here to read the letter.
However, in a further twist, InBev responded by saying in documents filed to a Delaware court that it was now seeking the removal of the entire board of Anheuser-Busch without giving cause "to ensure that Anheuser-Busch shareholders preserve their voice in the process."
InBev is understood to be angry that Busch IV told then he was opposed to the bid before it was launched and that he and his board were committed to maintaining the company's independence.