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InBev sticks to Anheuser proposal despite rejection

InBev stuck to its proposal to take over reluctant bid target Anheuser-Busch and said it would seek to give the latter's shareholders a direct voice if the US brewer still refused to talk.

InBev, the world's second-largest brewer by volume, said in a statement that it held to its existing price of $65 per share in cash, adding it represented the full and fair value of the company.

St Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Budweiser and Michelob, rejected InBev's advances on Friday and set out a plan to cut $1 billion in costs and improve earnings in a bid to convince investors that InBev's $46.3 billion offer was too low.

InBev described that plan as having significant execution risks.

The Belgian-based brewer of Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahma repeated that its strong preference remained to enter into a dialogue to achieve a friendly combination.

“At the same time, InBev remains committed to the combination and will pursue all available avenues that would allow Anheuser-Busch shareholders a direct voice in the process,” InBev said.

InBev last week filed a suit at the Delaware Chancery Court to establish that shareholders could remove Anheuser's entire board of directors, in a possible prelude to a hostile offer.

InBev said that it was clear that the eight directors elected after 2006 were subject to removal and that the purpose of the filing was to confirm its belief that the five directors elected in 2006 could also be replaced.

InBev would regain the number one spot from SABMiller Plc if it succeeded with what would be the third largest foreign takeover of a US company. Analysts believe it will have to raise its offer to at least $70 per share to persuade Anheuser-Busch to negotiate. (Reuters)