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Foster’s CEO Says SABMiller Offer Was “So Far From Reality”

The 9.6 billion Australian dollar ($10.54 billion) indicative bid Foster's Group Ltd. (FGL.AU) received last month from rival brewer SABMiller PLC (SAB.JO) was pitched at a level where it wasn't worth entering negotiations, the chief executive of the Australian company said Friday.

"The value (of the bid) was so far from reality, it wasn't worth engaging," John Pollaers told a business lunch in Melbourne, adding: "I'm not saying we would never engage."

Pollaers, who has led the brewer since May, said the company has launched a number of initiatives aimed at unlocking Foster's performance and which will reward shareholders.

SABMiller in June made an unsolicited cash bid for Foster's at A$4.90 a share, which the Melbourne company rejected as significantly undervaluing it. Graham Mackay, chief executive of the London-based company, at the time said his company would continue to seek talks with Foster's.

Foster's is the leading beer maker in Australia, with seven of the top 10 brands and a national distribution network that SABMiller would be able to sell its portfolio of international brands that includes Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Miller Genuine Draft.

In May, Foster's divested and listed its Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (TWE.AU) wine business.

Pollaers said there has been no engagement with SABMiller since the approach was made. "Since then, it has been business as usual," he said.

2 Aug. 2011

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