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A restaurateur’s guide to the Anheuser-Busch/Miller ping-pong match

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Snipes and countercharges have been volleyed back and forth by the restaurant industry’s two largest beer suppliers as they explore the possibility of becoming one mega-source. While proving good sport, the exchange can be confusing for operators who fear a loss of negotiating leverage if Anheuser-Busch Inbev and SABMiller should indeed merge.

Here’s a quick review of how the match stands:

A-B’s serve

Today the brewer of such casual-restaurant staples as Bud Light and Shock Top accused SABMiller, the source for all Miller-brand brews, of being delusional. It issued a statement-slash-economic-lesson on why a $104 billion offer for its arch-rival is not a low-ball bid, noting that the price exceeds SABMiller’s current market cap by 44 percent. 

Call under review

A-B also noted that a shareholder controlling 27 percent of SABMiller’s stock has called on the company to accept the merger bid.

SABMiller’s volley

The London-based brewer blasted A-B’s $104 billion bid as “opportunistic” and too low.

Officials’ warning

Under the securities regulations of the United Kingdom, A-B hasn’t yet officially offered to buy SABMiller; the overtures to date are regarded as “informal” by the letter of the law. The rules dictate that A-B has until Wednesday to present a detailed, formal offer. Otherwise, a cooling-off period of at least six months is imposed on the two participants in a possible deal.

The game to date

Advantage, A-B. But stay tuned. To date, there’s been little speculation in the United States about whether such a deal would even be acceptable to antitrust regulators. 

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