US: Quinsa AmBev buy-up rumbles on

By | 19 March 2007

A group of minority shareholders in Argentine brewer Quinsa are set to reject AmBev's attempts to buy them out, according to reports.

Last week, AmBev, which is owned by Belgium-based brewing giant InBev, once again extended the period of its offer to buy the remaining shares in Quinsa. AmBev extended the offer to buy up to 6.8m class A shares for US$3.35 each and 8.6m class B shares for $33.53 until 5 April. The announcement marked the second time AmBev has extended the deadline.

In a report from Dow Jones on Friday (16 March), however, three US-based minority holders, Duma Capital Partners, Punch Card Capital and S. Bleichroeder Advisers are said to have rejected the offer. Between the three, they collectively hold 4.15m class B shares. AmBev had previously said that it would only settle the offer if more than 3.9m class B shares are tendered.

"The tender offer is not important anymore, what is more important for us is to have a seat on Quilmes board," Amit Bhatiani, a portfolio manager at Duma Capital, told Dow Jones. "If AmBev won't raise its offer, the tender will most likely fail and Quilmes will remain a public company trading in the US, where good corporate governance practice requires the presence of independent members on the board as well as on the audit and compensation committees."

Norbert Lou, a portfolio manager at Punch Card, was also cited as saying: "In three weeks they (AmBev) will be in the same situation if they don't raise the offer."

Although no-one was available for comment at InBev today, a spokesperson for the company told just-drinks late on Friday: "The (deadline) extension is linked to the regulatory process, not to recent opinions expressed by some minority shareholders."

No-one was available at Duma Capital when contacted today.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: AmBev

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