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from Breakingviews:

Foster’s gets full measure from SABMiller

By Quentin Webb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Like two quarrelsome drunks who are suddenly best of friends, SABMiller and Foster’s Group have quickly patched things up after earlier hostilities. Foster’s has done well to secure a sweetened $10-billion-plus offer from its London-listed rival, with markets queasy and no rival bidders in sight. The deal is hardly cheap. But the sums just about work for SAB, and Foster’s was one of the few easily buyable brewers of size out there.

The all-cash deal is worth A$5.10 for each share in the Australian target, but this will come after Foster's makes a special A$0.30 cash return already flagged by the group. Shareholders will also receive a previously announced full-year dividend, which SAB had previously said would be lopped off any offer.

The terms imply an enterprise value of about A$11.9 billion at completion, based on SAB's forecast of A$1.4 billion for Foster's net debt by end-December. For its part, SAB claims the implied EV is in fact A$400 million lower, after effectively haircutting net debt for the estimated value of some inherited tax losses.

Newcastle Brown — a tale of two cities

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HEINEKEN/EICHHOFSobering news from Tyneside.

Scottish & Newcastle brewery is to end production of the iconic “broon” at its plant in Gateshead and transfer it to Tadcaster in North Yorkshire in the face of falling sales. Gateshead is to close with the loss of 60 jobs.

Newcastle Brown has been associated with Tyneside since it started life in 1927 and is one of the few ales to be named after a particular area. Making it elsewhere is unthinkable in the eyes of many.

Cameron calls time on cheap beer

House of parliament Where can you get the cheapest pint in London? In a bar in parliament, according to David Cameron.

Cameron said a pint of Fosters in bars sells for only 2.10 pounds in Westminster, little over half of what you would pay outside the confines of parliament.

What is killing the traditional British pub?

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British pubs are closing at a rate of more than 50 a week, according to industry figures. The number of watering holes shutting up shop increased by a third in the first six months of 2009 to around 52 every week.

The British Beer and Pubs Association (BBPA) said the closure rate means a total of 2,377 pubs have closed over the last 12 months with the loss of 24,000 jobs. The BBPA blames above-average increases in alcohol duty, the cost of regulation and the recession for the worrying trend.

A good budget?

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darlin2.jpgThe headlines say it was a budget that hit drinkers, smokers and gas-guzzlers.

Chancellor Alistair Darling hiked up the usual “sin taxes” in his first budget.

But he also postponed a 2p rise in fuel taxes until October.

He also made a bid for the green vote with a call for a new road pricing scheme and for retailers to charge customers for plastic bags.

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