Altria to Sell Part of Its Anheuser-Busch InBev Stake

The tobacco firm plans to sell 35 million of the approximately 197 million ordinary shares it has invested in the company.
Altria and Anheuser-Busch InBev logos

RICHMOND, Va. — Altria Group Inc. plans to sell a portion of its investment in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ABI) through a global secondary offering primarily consisting of ABI shares. 

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The composition of the sale will break down into the following:

  • A public offering of ABI ordinary shares represented by American depository shares (ADS) in the United States;
  • A public offering of ABI ordinary shares in the United States;
  • A concurrent private placement of ABI ordinary shares in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom; and
  • An offering of ABI ordinary shares, including ABI ordinary shares represented by ADSs, in other countries outside the United States. 
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In addition, ABI has agreed to repurchase $200 million of ordinary shares directly from Altria, concurrently with and conditional on completion of the offering.

"As good stewards of shareholder capital, we consistently review options to unlock the value of our ABI investment, and we believe this is an opportunistic transaction that realizes a portion of the substantial return on our long-term investment," said Billy Gifford, Altria CEO. "Over the decades of our ownership, the beer investment has provided significant income and cash returns and supported our strong balance sheet. Our continued investment reflects ongoing confidence in ABI's long-term strategies, premium global brands and experienced management team."

Altria currently holds approximately 197 million shares of ABI, representing approximately 10% ownership. The company will offer 35 million of its ordinary shares in ABI as part of the transaction. In connection with the offering, Altria expects to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to 5.25 million additional ABI shares owned by the company.

The company stated it intends to use the proceeds for additional share repurchases of its common stock. The offering and the partial sale has already been approved by the Altria board.

Morgan Stanley will act as the lead underwriter for the proposed offering, with J.P. Morgan acting as an active underwriter.

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Altria's wholly owned subsidiaries include leading manufacturers of both combustible and smoke-free products. In combustibles, it owns Philip Morris USA Inc. and John Middleton Co. Its smoke-free portfolio includes ownership of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, Helix Innovations LLC and NJOY LLC.

In addition to its equity investment in ABI, the company also owns a stake in Cronos Group Inc.

The brand portfolios of Altria's tobacco operating companies include Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen, Skoal, on! and NJOY. 

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