“Beer merger on the brink after higher bid falls flat” writes The Times (£) after yesterday’s improved AB InBev offer for SABMiller fails to convince investors. “The revised bid was immediately panned by one leading shareholder to leave the third biggest deal in corporate history teetering on the brink.”
”Brewing giants face a revolt over a £79billion takeover despite offering more money to angry shareholders”, write The Daily Mail, while The Telegraph notes that major SABMiller investor Aberdeen has already rejected the sweetened £79bn AB InBev offer.
The Financial Times (£) says the pound’s fall threatens to can the deal. The FT writes “Sterling’s sharp drop in value since last month’s UK vote to leave the EU has exacerbated a tension that already lay at the heart of the deal and that at worst threatens to scupper it altogether.”
Separately, The FT questions if AB InBev/SABMiller could be the first megadeal stymied by the EU referendum? “[Dissenting investors] believe a fall in the pound against the euro means the deal terms now disadvantage them. This could be the first — and possibly only — megadeal stymied by post-referendum currency gyrations.” (The Financial Times £)
In The Times (£) Patrick Hosking explains: “The problem is the favourable treatment of SAB’s two biggest shareholders, who are opting for a shares-and-cash alternative offer. Many institutional shareholders aren’t able to opt for this alternative because it is in illiquid securities that cannot be sold for five years. That was tolerated when the cash option looked superior. Now they feel like second-class citizens.”
Elsewhere, discounters are continuing to beat the big four stores in growth race (The Times £), but there has been little impact on the prices they charge consumers from the EU referendum, latest industry figures show (The Telegraph). The Guardian writes: “Supermarkets endured their worst sales performance in at least two years in the month following the Brexit vote but analysts are blaming poor weather rather than fears about life outside the EU.” The Daily Mail notes shoppers are shunning Asda as its sales drop 5.6% and is the worst performer among the Big Four supermarkets.
Fevertree Drinks sales fizz by 67% to £40.6m as young people choose to drink posh gin and tonic (The Daily Mail), while it has doubled its dividend on the back of fast-growing sales of its ranges of premium tonic waters and cocktail mixers (The Financial Times £).
The FT looking at PZ Cussons’ annual results writes that the collapse of the floated Nigerian naira failed to shock the market, despite hitting the company’s profits. “It reacted by massaging prices up slowly, prioritising higher value products from scarce imported materials, and keeping an eye on the main prize: Africa’s burgeoning population and its reliable demand for consumer products. Floating a currency ultimately lessens the risk of shortages, in exchange for a little more price volatility. Long term, that suits Nigeria and PZ Cussons.” (The Financial Times £)
Shoppers at Tesco will be able to pick up a tube of organic snail gel, harvested from free-roaming gastropods, to help to soothe their skin. Britain’s largest supermarket group has gone into partnership with Holland & Barrett, the health food retailer, to put in concessions in its UK stores. (The Times £)
McDonald’s US sales growth slowed in the second quarter, underscoring a fast food industry-wide weakening of demand and raising questions over the longevity of the company’s turnround in its most important market (The Financial Times £). “America’s appetite cools for McDonald’s despite new all-day breakfasts,” writes The Telegraph, while The Guardian writes “the burger giant’s turnaround efforts stumbled both at home and abroad in the face of growing uncertainty among consumers”.
Mondelez International will make its first major foray into China’s tricky chocolate market in September, as it introduces its $2bn Milka brand at a time when rival and recent takeover target Hershey battles falling sales in the country. (The Financial Times £)