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Friendly Foster's deal over beers turns hostile

Friendly Foster's deal over beers turns hostile

The $9.5 billion offer by SABMiller for Foster's has become a hostile takeover bid.Talks between the respective parties have broken down, and the British-based SABMiller will now be making its…

The $9.5 billion offer by SABMiller for Foster's has become a hostile takeover bid.

Talks between the respective parties have broken down, and the British-based SABMiller will now be making its pitch directly to shareholders.

SABMiller announced overnight that it will be making a conditional, off-market, cash takeover offer at $4.90 a share for all of the issues shares in the Foster's Group.

Foster's has previously rejected an offer of $4.90 per share from the British brewers, with the Australian company hoping for an offer in the vicinity of $5.50 per share.

This latest development, in what has been a protracted deal negotiation period, adds another level of complexity for the law firms involved.

Foster's has shunned long-term legal adviser Corrs Chambers Westgarth to link up with Allens Arthur Robinson on this deal, with Allen & Overy representing SABMiller.

Senior partner Ewen Crouch and capital markets group co-head Robert Pick are leading the Allens team, with the A&O team being led by M&A partners Aaron Kenavan and Michael Parshall, with antitrust partner Dave Poddar and banking partner Adam Stapledon also advising.

Hogan Lovells is also advising SABMiller on global aspects of the transaction.

A&O Australia managing partner Grant Fuzi told Lawyers Weekly that the firm's international connections with SABMiller were instrumental in the Australian arm of the firm being able to act on this deal.

"Richard Browne, a London-based partner, has a close relationship with SABMiller, and combined with our ability to provide a leading M&A and finance team on the ground in Australia, we were able to land this role," he said.

Fuzi declined to comment specifically on this proposed transaction, but said he remains optimistic that the recent volatility in global financial markets should not dampen what has been a buoyant Australian M&A market for the first six months of this year.

Allens declined to comment when contacted by Lawyers Weekly.

SABMiller is hoping to send its Bidder's Statement to Foster's shareholders around two weeks after it is provided to Foster's.

Castle Lager, Peroni and Grolsch are brands that are included under the SABMiller umbrella.

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