Australian beer maker, Foster’s, is set to be taken over by international brewer SABMiller. Last night, an $11 billion takeover deal was agreed upon by both sides.
The board of the company, best known for making VB and Carlton Draught, gave its approval to the deal, which will see it go the way of one-time homegrown favourites like Vegemite, Arnott’s Biscuits and Aeroplane Jelly in heading overseas, an Australian newspaper reported.
Foster’s employs about 2000 people in Victoria. However, there was no guarantee that they would be keeping their jobs at the company.
SABMiller had been pursuing Foster’s takeover since June and has had to significantly raise its original $9.5 billion offer. However, there was no commitment to protect local jobs or factories, including the famous Abbotsford brewery.
“At this stage we are focusing on getting the right deal for our shareholders,” Foster’s chief John Pollaers said. “Those details will emerge as part of discussions.”
“Melbourne is incredibly important to our business,” he added.
Mr Pollaers, who has been head of the renowned brewer since May, would not comment on the loss of another flagship Australian brand.
“My view is it just opens a bigger field for Australians to play on,” he said. “We have terrific people and terrific brands. My goal for the business is to accomplish an expansion of those brands and the international careers for our employees. The only way I can think about it is, ‘How would the man on the street think it through?'” Mr. Pollaers said.
He said the new offer by SABMiller flushed Foster’s shareholders with cash.
Mr Pollaers did not say if there were other bids but said the board was in a position to consider a superior offer.
The news was met with disappointment by drinkers who bemoaned the sale of another Australian firm overseas.