Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $103.6 billion takeover bid for SABMiller was thrown into disarray after the target company suspended integration of the two brewers following a rebellion from shareholders who say they haven’t been compensated enough for the pound’s recent plunge.
SABMiller managers asked employees to halt work merging the two companies, with Chief Executive Officer Alan Clark saying in an internal memo that “there should be no contact with A-B InBev with immediate effect.” Advisers continue to work on the transaction, and SABMiller’s board hasn’t decided to walk away from the deal as it reviews an improved offer from A-B InBev, the Belgian parent company of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch.
What looked like a done deal just weeks ago has morphed into a battle pitting the world’s biggest brewer against SAB investors who oppose terms they say withered since the U.K. voted last month to leave the European Union. While A-B InBev nudged up its bid Tuesday, some shareholders remain opposed.
“It suggests that they think that the risk is real that shareholders won’t approve this,” said Philip Gorham, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. “We don’t know at this stage if the deal will close. It’s an unexpected wrinkle.”
Read more: Bloomberg