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AB InBev & SABMiller Merger Clears Shareholder Vote

LONDON — Shareholders of SAB Miller plc have given the greenlight to the company's proposed merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev. The transaction, which will create a global mega-brewery, is on schedule to close Oct. 10.

SABMiller shareholders approved the $100-billion-plus deal despite opposition from some investors who saw their share of the payout shrink when the pound plunged following Britain's vote to the leave the European Union, according to The Associated Press.

In all, 95.5 percent of SABMiller shareholders cast votes in favor of the merger. In a separate meeting AB InBev shareholders also voted in favor of all resolutions proposed related to the transaction. 

"We are committed to driving long-term growth and creating value for all our stakeholders," Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev, said in a statement.

The two companies reached a definitive agreement last fall. With the sell-off of some brands, it has already received regulatory approval from the various countries where they operate.

According to the AP, acquiring SABMiller gives AB InBev a large presence in Africa while increasing its business in South America and Europe. The combined company will control almost a third of the global beer market.

In order to win approval from SABMiller's two largest shareholders, AB InBev offered the U.S. tobacco company Altria and BevCo, an investment vehicle of the Santo Domingo family, a cash-and-stock deal that allows them to remain invested in the beer industry while avoiding taxes on a large cash payout. Other shareholders will receive a cash payment for their shares in British pounds.

A group of smaller investors led by Aberdeen Asset Management opposed the deal, saying it undervalued SABMiller and left them at a disadvantage to Altria and BevCo, which together own about 40 percent of the company. In response, SABMiller agreed to recognize two classes of investors, with the deal requiring approval from 75 percent of smaller shareholders.

A British court must still approve the measure next week, but the hearing is largely considered uncontentious, the news outlet added.


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