This Bud’s for you

July 14, 2008

bud.jpgU.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch accepted a hopped-up $52 billion takeover bid from Belgium-based InBev. InBev agreed to pay $70 per share for the maker of Budweiser, up from its original unsolicited bid of $65 per share, both companies said on Monday. The improved offer marked a 27 percent premium to Anheuser’s record-high stock price in October 2002. The deal is expected to gain regulatory approval. It would be the largest in the industry and the third-biggest ever foreign takeover of a U.S. company. Now, let the naming begin. While not nearly as bouncy as Microhoo, the union does lend itself to some intriguing combinations. The company seems to be settling on Anheuser-Busch Inbev. ABI Brewing, or ABIB, could suggest beer drinkers need to protect their shirts. The company could certainly be forgiven for seeking something more mouth friendly. Some DealZone suggestions from reporters who have spent far too much time thinking about it: InBusch, AmBusch, InBever-Busch, AmBever, BudBev or BevBud, lending itself to BevBuddies and BuddyBev.

Spain’s Santander is buying British bank Alliance & Leicester for 1.3 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in an agreed deal that will bulk up its existing UK bank Abbey. Santander, Europe’s second-biggest bank after HSBC, has long been considered a potential buyer of A&L, but has been able to secure a knockdown price after a collapse in its target’s share price in the past year. Santander said it was offering 1 of its shares for every three A&L shares, plus a cash dividend of 18 pence per share. The deal values A&L stock at 317p, compared with a 12-month high of 1,170 pence. A&L shares soared 54 percent to 338 pence by 1000 GMT after Santander confirmed the deal, reflecting the prospect that a takeover battle could ensue.

GlaxoSmithKline could pay Swiss company Actelion up to 3.3 billion Swiss francs ($3.28 billion) to develop a promising insomnia drug in the largest biotech partnering deal. Glaxo, Europe’s biggest drugmaker, beat many of the world’s top pharmaceuticals companies to partner Actelion’s sleeping pill almorexant and the deal sent the Swiss biotech’s stock soaring nearly 10 percent. “The deal terms already allow significant value to be transferred to shareholders,” said Landsbanki Kepler analyst Denise Anderson. Glaxo, which like other big drugmakers is keen to snap up promising new medicines to bolster its pipeline, had been tipped as a likely partner for almorexant, currently in late-stage clinical development. But some analysts had questioned whether it would go for the deal as it has the only other similar drug in clinical development, on hold in mid-stage trials.

Other deals of the day:
* Australian gaming company Tatts Group has said merging parts of its business with rival Tabcorp might make sense, following tougher state controls on their operations.

* An associate of India’s Kotak Mahindra Group has bought 27.76 percent stake in publisher Business Standard that was held by Great Eastern Shipping, the publisher said at the weekend.

* Israeli holding company Koor Industries said it has accumulated 8.97 million shares of Credit Suisse Group for 1.28 billion shekels ($378 million).

* Israel’s Hadera Paper said it agreed to buy 53 percent of Carmel Container Systems for $20.77 million, to bring its stake in the maker of paper-based packaging to 89.3 percent.

* United Capital Corp said its Chief Executive Officer has offered to buy the company for $23 per share in cash.

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