BELGIUM: InBev gets Tsingtao stake, sweats on Modelo
Speaking to just-drinks today (11 September), a spokesperson for InBev confirmed reports earlier this week that the company has signed an agreement with Tsingtao Brewery Group, the Chinese brewer's largest shareholder, securing the takeover of A-B's 27% holding in Tsingtao, once the $52bn acquisition has completed.
"The signing of the agreement with Tsingtao's majority shareholder is a normal step as we work towards completion (of the purchase)," the spokesperson said.
At the same time, however, the spokesperson said that InBev's talks to secure a similar agreement with Mexico's Grupo Modelo - in which A-B holds a 50% non-controlling share - remain "ongoing".
"We are still talking with Grupo Modelo," the spokesperson continued. "These talks have not yet been concluded." The spokesperson said a date for conclusion of these talks had not been set.
During the acquisition battle earlier this summer, Modelo's CEO, Carlos Fernandez, quit his position on the board of A-B, soon after speculation suggested A-B was considering buying full control of Modelo to ward off InBev's advances.
Analysts, meanwhile, have disputed whether Modelo would be legally entitled to opt out of a deal with InBev. But one analyst told just-drinks in July that a partnership made sense for both companies, offering InBev better access to Mexico and Modelo improved distribution. "Modelo is going to have to think about a way to increase international exports," the analyst said.
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