It Ain’t Miller Time: Heineken Rejects Takeover Bid

If you’re a purist when it comes to a certain Dutch beer, you can breathe a sigh of relief today. That’s because Heineken rejected a bid by close rival SABMiller to take over the Netherlands-based brewer.

As reported by CBS News, on Sunday Heineken released a statement claiming the family-owned beer company turned down the bid “to preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company.” No specific information has been released regarding the nitty-gritty of the now-defunct deal.

Heineken said that it “consulted with its majority shareholder and concluded that SABMiller’s proposal is non-actionable.” The brewer added that no further public comments will be made about the rejected bid.

The third biggest brewer on the planet, Heineken reported in February that its profits took a 52 percent nosedive in 2013. The company has more than 165 breweries spread across 70 countries. Despite that considerable coverage, its main consumer base resides mostly in Western Europe, and even there the beer in the distinctive dark-green bottle is facing strong and ever-increasing competition.

It could be that the disheartening dip in profitable performance and shrinking market share had something to do with motivating the offer from SABMiller, the globe’s second-place beer bottler who, of course, is the proud producer of the “champagne of beers” known as Miller High Life.

Both companies trail behind the juggernaut that is Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. Indeed, according to a report by International Business Times, SABMiller’s true motivation for the Heineken bid was to find a way to prevent its own eventual absorption by Anheuser Busch, which over the past decade, has swallowed several other famous beers, including Budweiser and Corona, among others.

Matthew Beesley, a Henderson Global Investors portfolio manager, told Bloomberg, “For [SABMiller], a way of preserving their independence is to buy Heineken…It’s easy to underestimate the desire for management teams to be in control of their own destiny rather than to sell their business at a very high price.”

Not that London-based SABMiller is shy about consuming its foamy rivals; it drank Grolsch in 2007, and guzzled Foster’s in 2011.

Apparently, the terms of the just-rejected bid would have allowed the Heineken family to retain a considerable stake in their former company. Meanwhile, the benefit to SABMiller would have been over $25 billion in added sales.

Are you a Heineken drinker? Would it matter to you if the brewer was acquired by another beer company?

[Image via theheinekencompany.com]