LONDON (Reuters) - Belgium’s InBev NV is close to securing a $50 billion financing package to enable it to launch a takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc, maker of Budweiser beer, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The paper said InBev, the world’s second-biggest brewer, had held talks with banks JP Morgan, Santander, BNP Paribas and Merrill Lynch about a financing package.
Once it has guarantees from the banks, InBev could write a formal letter to Anheuser-Busch’s board, a move expected as early as this week, the paper said, quoting market sources.
No-one at InBev could immediately be reached for comment.
A source familiar with the situation said last week InBev was still considering whether to bid for the U.S. brewer and had not yet begun merger talks.
The Sunday Times, however, reported Anheuser-Busch had already pulled in a top defense team, hiring investment banks Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to fend off takeover interest from InBev.
The Busch family has a stake of around 3.5 percent in Anheuser but exerts a strong influence over directors. Both former boss August Busch III and his son, chief executive August Busch IV, have said they will not sell.
Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; Editing by David Holmes
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