Anheuser-Busch InBev sought to reassure investors that its £68bn takeover of smaller rival SABMiller was on track on Wednesday, despite needing another week of talks, by confirming it had financing for the deal. The Budweiser brewer said the funding could be raised “at short notice” – people familiar with the situation said the debt package is being provided by 21 banks and could amount to as much as $70bn. (The Financial Times £)
Under the headline “Take your time, please gentlemen”, The Times (£) writes that the Takeover Panel will grant Anheuser-Busch InBev extra time today to agree the terms of a recommended £68bn takeover of SABMiller.
Meanwhile, Brewing analysts have speculated that Heineken, Carlsberg and others might get caught up in the melee and be persuaded to take on a big deal of their own. But Heineken has offered strong evidence that it has no need to get involved in the big beer mergers favoured by its rivals after posting a strong third quarter sales rise (The Times £). The Financial Times (£) wrote that “Heineken brushed off concerns that it stands to become the big loser from the impending tie-up between its two biggest rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller by reporting far stronger sales than expected in the last quarter.”
Stefano Pessina, the Italian chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made his name — and fortune — sealing pharmacy deals across the globe. His latest move, to buy Walgreens’ smaller US rival Rite Aid for $17.2bn including debt, is unlikely to be his last, he says in an interview, as he pursues his ambition of creating a dominant pharmacy and drug wholesaling company that spans several continents. (The Financial Times £)
The Telegraph writes that Pessina’s bold move to add US pharmacy chain Rite Aid to Walgreens Boots Alliance in a $17bn takeover is the latest sign that the white-haired, 74-year-old dealmaker has no plans to retire for an easy life on the golf course. “Almost the opposite, in fact; it would appear that in later life Pessina has become all too aware there is little time to waste”. (The Telegraph)
Asda is facing a curry shortage after the supplier of its own-label Asian ready meals went into administration with the loss of 300 jobs. S&A Foods, based in Derby, stopped delivering to Asda a few days ago before appointing administrators. (The Guardian)
Australia’s Woolworths and its rival, Coles owner Wesfarmers, were among the worst performers on the Australian stock market after the former said its profit was likely to fall by up to 35% in the first half of the financial year. (The Guardian)
Poor summer weather in Ireland and Scotland led to a fall in sales at C&C, the drinks group, as fewer people drank its cider. (The Times £)
British American Tobacco has been caught up in the economic turmoil affecting emerging markets as currency fluctuations and slowing smoking rates caused revenue at the cigarette giant to fall 6.5pc during the first nine months of the year (The Telegraph). However, The Daily Mail notes that it still sold 487bn cigarettes in the first nine months of the year – the equivalent of nearly 90m packets of 20 a day.