The struggle for control of the Hong Kong-based brewer Harbin took another interesting twist yesterday, when it was reported that Anheuser-Busch's attempt to acquire a 29% stake in the business has been delayed.

According to a Reuters report, ABN Amro said Tuesday that the delay could prevent A-B from making a full takeover bid for the brewery before the takeover offer from rival SABMiller closes.

SABMiller, which itself owns a 29% stake in Harbin, launched a hostile bid for control of the business after A-B last week agreed to acquire its own stake from a group of private investors.

However, Anheuser has not yet secured its stake because the selling investors have not yet gained regulatory approval to first buy the 29% stake in Harbin Brewery from Harbin's city government.

The fact that investors must first buy the stake from the Harbin government before selling on to A-B is adding a degree of uncertainty to whether A-B will have time to launch a counter offer to SABMiller.

According to the report China's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission is not bound by any deadline to make a decision on a transaction involving the transfer of state assets.