The maker of Heineken and Amstel beers said it consulted with its
majority shareholder and concluded that SABMiller's proposal was
"The Heineken family has informed SABMiller, Heineken and Heineken
Holding of its intention to preserve the heritage and identity of
Heineken as an independent company," it said in a statement.
The founding family owns just over 50 percent of Heineken via
Heineken Holding HEIO.AS. A further 12.5 percent is owned by
Mexico's FEMSA FMSAUBD.MX.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg news agency
reported SABMiller's approach earlier on Sunday, saying it was part
of an SAB strategy to protect itself from a potential takeover bid
from its larger rival, world No. 1 brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev
Speculation about an AB InBev move on SABMiller has been circulating
for months, as the world leader - known for its aggressive merger
strategy - has largely digested its last acquisition. Talk of such a
deal had intensified in the past week, according to sources who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
SAB was not immediately available for comment after Heineken's
announcement, but declined to comment earlier in the day.
Bloomberg reported from its sources that SABMiller's offer would
have made the Heineken family one of the largest shareholders in the
combined group. The newswire also said that the approach was made in
the past two weeks.
[to top of second column]
SABMiller has done many deals on its journey from a small South
African player to the world's No 2 brewery, including the 2005
purchase of Colombia's Bavaria, the 2007 purchase of Grolsch, the
2008 combination of Miller Brewing Co with the U.S. business of
Molson Coors TAP.N and the 2011 purchase of Fosterís Group.
Like other brewers, SABMiller is struggling to grow in Europe and
North America. New revenues from emerging middle classes in
developing markets have been dented by weak currencies in many of
Heineken, the largest player in the mature Western European market,
has expanded steadily in faster-growing emerging markets, including
Mexico and Asia.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller, Anjuli Davies and Sarah Young in
London; Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Thomas Escritt in
Amsterdam; Editing by Keiron Henderson, Tom Heneghan and Peter
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