AB InBev shares worth $2.2bn put up for sale

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

AB InBev is world's largest brewer. Credit: Getty / STasker
AB InBev is world's largest brewer. Credit: Getty / STasker

Related tags Beverages

Altria Group has announced its intention to sell 35m shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) worth as much as $2.2bn (£1.7bn).

Currently, Altria owns approximately 197m shares of AB InBev which represents a 10% ownership stake. Prior to trading opening on 14 March 2024, AB InBev had a share price of $62.01 (£48.37).

AB InBev has also agreed to repurchase $200m of ordinary shares directly from Altria, although this is conditional on the completion of the offering.

Based in Leuven, Belgium, AB InBev is the world's largest brewer and owns beer brands including Becks, Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois. According to its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2023, the group had revenues of $59.4bn (£46.3bn).

Altria retains confidence in AB InBev’s prospects

The offering and partial sale of the AB InBev shares has been approved by the Altria board, with the group adding that it hopes to use the proceeds of a potential sale to fund additional share repurchases of its common stock.

Explaining the move, Altria chief executive Billy Gifford: “As good stewards of shareholder capital, we consistently review options to unlock the value of our AB InBev investment, and we believe this is an opportunistic transaction that realises a portion of the substantial return on our long-term investment.

“Over the decades of our ownership, the beer investment has provided significant income and cash returns and supported our strong balance sheet. Our continued investment reflects ongoing confidence in AB InBev’s long-term strategies, premium global brands and experienced management team.”

Meanwhile, AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said that decision to repurchase shares from Altria was consistent with the firm’s past strategy.

Doukeris continued: “We recently completed our $1bn share buyback that was announced in October 2023 and will participate in this offering for a further $200m repurchase of our shares. Altria remains a significant shareholder of our company and we look forward to continuing our important shareholder relationship with them​.”

Morgan Stanley is acting as the lead underwriter for the proposed offering, while JP Morgan is also acting as an active underwriter.

In other news, Morrisons has reported pre-tax losses of £1.1bn for the 52 weeks up to 29 October 2023.

Related topics Drinks Operations

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