Speculation mounts that Foster’s beer assets may be lost in foreign takeover bid

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Speculation is intensifying that a foreign predator could swoop on one of Australia’s best-known companies – Foster’s – now the demerger of its beer and wine businesses is almost complete.
Takeover talk has increased since shareholders overwhelmingly backed the split on Friday.

Overseas media reports at the weekend again touted British drinks giant SABMiller as a potential bidder for Foster’s beer assets.

Chinese brewery Tsingtao, Dutch major Heineken, Japan’s Asahi and North American group Molson Coors have previously also been named as possible suitors.

London-based SABMiller – which makes Grolsch and Peroni – has long been considered a likely buyer for the company’s CUB beer division, with reports emerging last year that it was planning a ?7 billion bid.

More than 99 per cent of shareholders voted on Friday to spin off and list the wine business as a new company – Treasury Wine Estates.

CUB, which produces Australia’s famous Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught brands, is considered by some to be the last great brewing asset that doesn’t belong to a global drinks conglomerate.

Foster’s will seek court approval for the demerger on Wednesday.