AB InBev insiders profit from beer merger hype
BRUSSELS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev officials sold shares in the company worth more than 9 million euros over the past two weeks, further undermining speculation the world's largest brewer is planning to buy SABMiller.
Chief Strategy Officer Jo Van Biesbroeck and directors Paulo Lemann and Stefan Descheemaeker sold shares between Sept 16 and 19, the days after frenzied speculation about a major beer deal, according to data from the Belgian financial markets regulator.
Share trading by key company insiders is strong evidence that AB InBev was not planning to buy the world's second biggest beer maker at the time. A person with knowledge of such an acquisition would not be allowed to trade.
Dutch brewer Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, said on Sept. 14 it had been approached by SABMiller, but that its controlling shareholder intended to keep the company independent.
The move by SABMiller was seen as a way of protecting itself from a potential takeover by global leader AB InBev and sparked share price rises for all the major brewers.
The Wall Street Journal said on Sept. 15 that AB InBev was talking to banks about funding a possible $122 billion takeover. AB InBev shares rose 2.8 percent that day, setting a record.
Shares in the company set another record high of 89.82 euros on Sept. 19.
A number of other executives and directors have also sold sizeable stakes in the company this month, including Ricardo Tadeu de Soares, regional head for Mexico, who sold 15.6 million euros worth of AB InBev stock on Sept. 9. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; editing by David Clarke)
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