BAT sweetens buyout offer for Brazil's Souza Cruz
SAO PAULO Aug 20 (Reuters) - British America Tobacco Plc on Thursday sweetened an offer for the 24.7 percent stake it does not already own in Souza Cruz SA, Brazil's largest cigarette maker, to woo reluctant shareholders.
In a securities filing, Souza Cruz said BAT now is offering 27.62 reais in cash for each share, from 26.12 reais previously. The new offer does not include equity and dividend payments that Souza Cruz,the maker of Dunhill, Free and Derby cigarettes, could announce before the date of the buyout auction, the filing added.
The company also said two funds managed by Aberdeen Asset Management agreed to tender their shares, which are equivalent to 18.3 percent of outstanding Souza Cruz stock, at the new price.
The takeover process remains subject to regulatory approval.
The $3.5 billion buyout would give BAT full control over Souza Cruz, which has about 80 percent of Brazil's cigarette market. BAT last considered a Souza Cruz buyout almost five years ago, but the plan foundered due to a strong Brazilian currency. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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