AUS: Foster's CEO - "We're on everyone's radar"
The head of Foster's Group has said any sale of the Australian multi-beverage company would attract a wealth of interest from drinks companies around the world.
Speaking exclusively to just-drinks today (4 October) in London, Foster's CEO Trevor O'Hoy moved to clarify comments he made earlier this week suggesting that no-one would consider buying the company within the next 12-18 months.
"The integration of Southcorp should be completed by the end of this year," O'Hoy said. "At the same time, we're combining our distribution systems, which should take between 12 and 18 months. They wouldn't want to buy into it (Foster's) until both issues were settled.
"The jewel in the crown is our Australian business," he continued. "A lot of companies are showing interest in our multi-beverage model. While we're breaking new ground in multi-beverage, I reckon some competitors are thinking: "Let's see a bit more first"."
O'Hoy was keen to point out, however, that there was no clear front-runner, should the company plan to sell. "Don't think there's any one natural buyer for Foster's," he warned. "We are on the radar screen of all of the big players.
"There's so much money slooshing around the system that any company that's under-valued would be looked at - we're undervalued," he added.
Speculation suggesting that Foster's may be put on the block has intensified in the last few weeks, leading to a jump in its share price in August. The leap prompted Foster's to issue a statement at the time, saying that it knew nothing of any rumoured interest in the company.
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