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AB InBev, SABMiller Reach Agreement on Acquisition

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV closed in on the biggest corporate takeover in U.K. history after proposing to pay almost $106 billion for SABMiller Plc to create a brewer selling one in every third beer worldwide.

The maker of Budweiser agreed to pay 44 pounds a share in cash for a majority of the stock, the companies said Tuesday. SABMiller said its board is prepared to recommend the offer, as shares in the target rose as much as 9.4 percent to 39.62 pounds in London. A successful takeover would give AB InBev beer brands such as Peroni and Grolsch and control of about half of the industry’s profit.

The agreement, which is tentative, caps weeks of back-and-forth over price, with SABMiller saying three previous overtures undervalued its business. After years of speculation, AB InBev’s pursuit of its nearest rival was hastened by the drag of slowing economies in the emerging markets of China and Brazil. For AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito, the combination would cap a $90 billion dealmaking spree over the last decade, turning a regional brewer into the undisputed global leader.

‘Great Job’

"SAB did a great job playing poker and driving the price higher," said Peter Braendle, who manages about $450 million in stocks, including SABMiller and AB InBev, at Zuercher Kantonalbank in Zurich. "ABI will do everything in its power to make this a success."

SABMiller shares traded at 39.47 pounds at 12:28 p.m. in London. The discount to the proposed offer price reflects “a residual, but misplaced fear that the deal won’t...