Interbrew, the Belgian brewer, announced late on Friday that it had dropped its legal battle to see five media organisations hand over leaked financial documents pertaining to a takeover by Interbrew of South African Breweries earlier this year.

In a statement Interbrew said it was "pleased that all five the news organisations are continuing constructive negotiations with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Interbrew, as a victim of manipulation of forged documents, has played its role in facilitating these discussions and will now withdraw from this case, leaving it in the hands of the financial regulatory authority, FSA."

The company continued: "In the current situation and expecting a positive outcome of the dialogue, Interbrew intends to take no further action to enforce its judgement against the five news organisations." 

The five publishers had defied a UK court order to hand over financial documents belonging to Interbrew about a possible bid by the Belgian brewer for South African Breweries (SAB). Before the newsgroups received them, these documents had apparently been altered to make it appear that the bid was imminent, causing Interbrew's share price to plunge and SAB's to soar.

All five news organisations are now in negotiations with the FSA as to the terms upon which they would be prepared to hand over the leaked and falsified documents directly to the FSA.
Interbrew's offered on 18 July not to enforce the court order made by the English High Court that the news organisations deliver up the documents directly to the FSA.

"Interbrew wishes to give the parties every opportunity to reach an agreement and therefore decides to take no further proceedings against the five news organisations and hands over the case to the competent UK market authorities," the company concluded.