Canadian Brewer Targets Foster’s for Takeover

07 November, 2008 by

By Ian Neubauer

Canadian brewer Molson Coors has outed itself as the mystery buyer behind a September 25 Deutsche Bank transaction that snapped up 5.3 per cent of the Foster’s Group.

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Speculation over the identity of the mystery buyer has been rife in recent months, with brewing giants Heineken and SABMiller fingered as being behind a potentially hostile takeover bid for Foster’s.

The multi-beverage company has been in a state of flux since the June resignation of former CEO Trevor O’Hoy and an admittance by chairman David Crawford that its global wine assets were underperforming. 

A strategic review wine business is expected to wrap up in February, with analysts foreseeing a split between the company’s interests in beer and wine. But Foster’s has remained mum on the projected outcome, saying it’s too early to tell. 

Foster’s posted a notice to shareholders on the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday (November 6) saying it has not been informed of the “precise extent” of Molson Coors’ interest in the company nor “their intentions with respect to that interest”.

Foster’s has proven itself a consistent performer for investors in the face of turbulent market conditions in recent months. It’s shares jumped 4.1 per cent yesterday — in the same day the stock market lost 4.3 per cent of its value — opening today (November 7) at $6.09.