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Newly formed super brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has said it has sold more than 99% of shares issued to raise funds for its US$52bn merger.

Investors have purchased 99.58% of the shares at EUR6.45 each, raising nearly all of the target EUR6.26bn (US$8.2bn) set by InBev to help it pay for the takeover of Anheuser (A-B), the group said today (11 December).

The deal, which unites Budweiser and Stella Artois, is the largest in brewing history.

A-B InBev said that it expected newly issued shares to begin trading on the Euronext Brussels stock exchange by 16 December. Under the rights issue, existing shareholders were invited to purchase eight shares in A-B InBev for every five they already owned, up to 09 December.

Speculation had grown in October and early November that the A-B InBev deal may be jeopardised by turmoil in financial markets.

Trevor Stirling, analyst with the Bernstein group, said in a note last month that the deal and rights issue was likely to succeed, because InBev's management remained firmly committed and the cost of walking away would likely run into tens of $billions.

The focus has since turned to integration. A-B InBev announced this week that it planned to cut 1,400 jobs in the US, with 75% of cuts set to be made at A-B's St Louis headquarters, in order to achieve $1.5bn in annual cost savings by 2011. 

The brewer also confirmed to just-drinks that it has begun a "consultation" with employees in the UK. One analyst said the brewer may look to sell its London-based Budweiser Stag Brewery.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Anheuser-Busch InBev

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