Anheuser-Busch InBev Gets More Time To Finalize Mega Beer Merger Offer

Anheuser-Busch InBev — the Belgian-Brazilian maker of “America’s beer” — was supposed to finalize its offer to acquire SABMiller by Oct. 14. That deadline was extended until this afternoon, but just like that really wealthy international student at college who never seemed to get his work done on time, AB InBev has been granted another extension.

The company announced [PDF] this morning that the two companies have now been given until end-of-business on Nov. 4 to make good on their $104 billion in-principle agreement from earlier this month.

In its announcement, AB InBev also confirmed that it has lined up financing that would pay for the all-cash deal, which would pay most SABMiller shareholders about 50% more than their stock was worth when the merger was announced. The two largest investors in SABMiller — cigarette giant Altria and the Santo Domingo family of Colombia — would receive slightly less per share, but would retain some investment in the merged company.

The Wall Street Journal reports that AB InBev and SABMiller have been trying to work out exactly what to do with the latter’s 58% stake in MillerCoors, the joint venture with Molson Coors that is responsible for all the Miller and Coors brands in the U.S.

If AB InBev and SABMiller were to merge without selling off that stake in MillerCoors, the combined company would control an astounding 70% of the U.S. beer market. It’s widely agreed that antitrust regulators would not approve a deal that includes consolidation of that scale.

The Journal’s sources say that the merging companies want to get the MillerCoors divestiture lined up quickly, and that the lack of such an arrangement is part of what’s holding up the finalized merger offer.

As we reported yesterday, regardless of who ends up with SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors, the deal may still end up resulting in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

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