The ruling allowed the brewer to exclude the two largest shareholders from the vote on the £79bn takeover offer from AB InBev.
The transaction would bring together AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, with SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, creating a global market leader.
Tobacco company Altria and Colombia’s Santo Domingo family, which own about 40% of the business, would be treated as a separate class of shareholder.
The High Court ruling came after some SABMiller shareholders mounted a revolt and AB InBev’s revised offer was accepted.
It was mooted that the split was a move designed to appease tension among investors.
Altria and Bevco to consent separately
A statement from the SABMiller board said: “The result of this is that Altria and Bevco will consent to the UK scheme separately and will not vote with other SABMiller shareholders.
“Altria and Bevco have both irrevocably undertaken to consent to the UK scheme.”
A general meeting of SABMiller shareholders is set to take place on September 28.
According to reports, the takeover could be blocked if just 15% of investors rejected the deal.
In June 2016, AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller was cleared by the European Commission (EC). The EC confirmed that the clearance is conditional on AB InBev selling SABMiller’s entire beer business in Europe.
Divest in Europe
AB InBev offered from the outset to divest the whole of SABMiller’s business in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK to pre-empt possible concerns.
AB InBev had already accepted an offer from the Japanese brewer Asahi for the businesses in those countries.
To dispel additional concerns identified by the EC, AB InBev also offered to divest SAB Miller’s business in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
Meanwhile, SABMiller acquired London craft brewery Meantime Brewing Company, in May 2016.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, marked SABMiller’s first entry into the UK craft beer market.
The original takeover bid was agreed in October 2015 and was worth £68bn.
Brands owned by SABMiller and AB InBev
- Peroni Nastro Azzuro
- Coors Light
- Stella Artois