Fosters Group to be swallowed by SABMiller

Foster's Group to be swallowed by SABMiller

Foster's Group's shareholders have backed a takeover of the brewer by SABMiller, clearing the path for the deal to close within 24 hours.

In a vote today (1 December), 99% of shareholder votes cast were in favour of SABMiller swallowing Foster's, which is Australia's largest brewer ahead of Kirin-controlled Lion Nathan. Foster's chairman David Crawford hailed a "historic day" for the group.

The shareholder backing means that SABMiller may effectively complete its acquisition of Foster's by the end of tomorrow. The deal gives Foster's an enterprise value of AUD11.5bn, including debt. 

Tomorrow, Foster's said that it will apply for approval of the deal at a hearing of the Supreme Court of Victoria. If secured, Foster's shares will cease trading on the Australian Stock Exchange at the end of the same day. Shareholders would then be paid by 21 December. 

Initially, SABMiller agreed to pay AUD5.1 per share cash for Foster's, with the Australian group agreeing to hand an extra AUD0.4325 to its own shareholders via a dividend and a one-off capital return payment of AUD0.3. However, Australian tax authorities have blocked the capital return payment, causing the UK-listed Peroni brewer to raise its cash offer to AUD5.4, in order to cover the difference.