InBev Stands Firm on Anheuser-Busch Bid

Hostile bid still possible

Belgian-Brazilian brewing giant InBev stood by its takeover offer for Anheuser-Busch on July 1 after being turned down last week, but left the door open for a hostile bid.

"InBev's strong preference is to enter into a constructive dialogue to achieve a friendly combination that comprehensively addresses the interests of all constituents," it said in a statement.

"At the same time, InBev remains committed to the combination and will pursue all available avenues that would allow Anheuser-Busch shareholders a direct voice in the process," it added.

InBev, which already owns leading brands such as Stella Artois, Beck's, Leffe and Brahma, offered $46 billion for Anheuser-Busch last month, seeking to build an unrivaled global brewer.

But Anheuser-Busch, brewer of iconic brands Budweiser and Bud Light, spurned the offer on June 26 as "financially inadequate and not in the best interests" of shareholders.

InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said in the statement that his company's offer of $65 a share represented a "full and fair value" for Anheuser-Busch and gave shareholders "immediate certainty of value in a weakened stock market environment."

"Given the seriousness of our firm proposal, we were surprised that we did not hear from Anheuser-Busch's board of directors, management or advisors prior to the rejection," Brito said.

In a sign of the growing hostility between the two companies management, InBev last week sought a court judgement in Delaware to confirm that Anheuser-Busch's shareholders could dismiss the board.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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