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US: Anheuser-Busch shareholders move against A-B's board

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A group of Anheuser-Busch shareholders have filed lawsuits against the brewer, claiming A-B's board has breached its fiduciary responsibility by rejecting InBev's recent takeover offer.

In a report yesterday (1 July), Reuters cited documents from the Court of Chancery in Delaware from a group of shareholders represented by Peter Brinckerhoff. The lawsuit asks the Delaware court to prevent A-B's board from trying to thwart InBev through "improper means," including holding talks with Grupo Modelo "in order to put the combined company beyond the practical reach of InBev or any other potential bidder".

The suit also asks the court to prevent A-B "directors from entrenching themselves and causing the company to take unreasonable and disproportionate defensive measures".

The group filed the suit in Delaware on 27 June, Reuters said.

No-one was immediately available for comment at A-B when contacted by just-drinks today.

Late last week, A-B's board rejected InBev's US$65-per-share takeover offer, deeming the bid "financially inadequate". The US brewer said it was looking to make savings going forward, which will deliver more than $750m in savings next year and $1bn in savings by 2010.

InBev responded yesterday, by appealing directly to A-B shareholders to consider the offer on the table.


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