Heineken Rejects SABMiller's Acquisition Offer

Deal would help SABMiller fend off AB InBev, which is preparing bid

SABNiller Anheuser-Busch AB InBev Heineken (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Beverages / Beer)

AMSTERDAM -- Heineken has confirmed a Bloomberg report that SABMiller has approached its owners with an offer to acquire the smaller brewer. Heineken has issued a press statement that it "has consulted with its majority shareholder and concluded that SABMiller's proposal is non-actionable."

SABMiller's offer is meant to help defend it against a potential bid by Anheuser-Busch InBev, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

AB InBev is talking to banks about financing what could be a $122 billion deal to buy SABMiller, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal in a separate report. A combination of the world's two largest brewing companies has been rumored for years, but a revival in global merger activity this year has sparked renewed speculation about a deal, the report said.

AB InBev is not in active discussions with SABMiller, the source said, explaining that the company is waiting to line up its financing before making a formal approach.

SABMiller's offer to Heineken, made in the last two weeks, would have made the Heineken family one of the largest holders in the combined company, said Bloomberg. The family owners have rejected the approach as they don't want to lose control of the 34 billion-euro ($44 billion), Amsterdam-based brewer, the report added.

Spokespersons for SABMiller and Heineken declined to comment to the news agency.

"The Heineken family has informed SABMiller, Heineken and Heineken Holding NV of its intention to preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company," Heineken's statement continued. "The Heineken family and Heineken NV's management are confident that the company will continue to deliver growth and shareholder value. Heineken does not intend to make any further public statements in relation to this announcement."

Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev has a portfolio of more than 200 beer brands including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois; international brands Beck's, Leffe and Hoegaarden; and Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Quilmes, Victoria, Modelo Especial, Michelob Ultra, Harbin, Sedrin, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske, Cass, and Jupiler.

London-based SABMiller plc's brand portfolio includes Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (USA), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland) as well as global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch.

Amsterdam-based Heineken has a portfolio of more than 250 international premium, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders, including Heineken, Amstel, Anchor, Biere Larue, Bintang, Birra Moretti, Cruzcampo, Desperados, Dos Equis, Foster's, Newcastle Brown Ale, Ochota, Primus, Sagres, Sol, Star, Strongbow, Tecate, Tiger and Zywiec.