Budweiser maker AB InBev(BUD) - Get Report will retain its name after gulping down Miller Genuine Draft maker SABMiller, it said as shareholders of both companies approved the £79 billion ($102.74 billion) combination on Wednesday.
Investors in the Leuven, Belgium-based buyer were the first to vote on the deal nicknamed "Mebagrew," followed quickly by the green light from SABMiller shareholders in a lightening-fast 19-minute gathering in London.
"It will probably be a record that will never be matched," said SABMiller spokesman Richard Farnsworth. He said that only one, non-contentious question was asked, concerning voter turnout.
"We are pleased that our shareholders' vote brings us one step closer to combining our companies, teams, strong heritage and passion for brewing," said AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito in a statement from Brussels. "We are committed to driving long-term growth and creating value for all of our stakeholders."
The company plans to retain the AB InBev name after the tie-up, while the SABMiller name will be consigned to the history books 120 years after South African Breweries began selling beer to miners and prospectors in and around Johannesburg.
AB InBev, which also makes Beck's, Corona and Stella Artois, is already the world's largest brewer, while SABMiller is No. 2.
AB InBev shareholders were first to give the green light, followed by the go-ahead from 95.46% of SABMiller shareholders, clearing the 75% threshold needed for the takeover to go ahead.
SABMiller's two biggest shareholders, Altria Group(MO) - Get Report and the Santo Domingo family's holding company Bevco, were treated as a separate class and did not participate in Wednesday's vote, according to the SABMiller spokesman. The investors, who together own 41.6% of SABMiller, have irrevocably undertaken to support the deal.
AB InBev said its timetable of completing the tie-up in early October remains unchanged. In August it disclosed plans to cut 3% of its enlarged workforce after the combination along with a nearly-$2 billion in tab in merger-related fees and expenses.
AB InBev shares were up 1.03% in Brussels at €117.35, giving it a market value of around €188.7 billion ($211.36 billion). SABMiller gained 0.56% to 4,490.00 pence in London, valuing the whole of its equity at £72.5 billion.
SABMiller shares will be de-listed from both the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges in the first week of October, with shares of the enlarged AB InBev due to start trading on several exchanges on Oct. 11.
The deal is nearing the finish line about 10 months after AB InBev unveiled a formal offer for SABMiller, which it further sweetened in July by 100 pence to 4,500 pence a share.