NEW YORK: Apollo Global Management Inc said on Wednesday a group of institutional investors led by the private-equity firm would buy a 49.9% stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s US-based metal container plants for about US$3bil. AB InBev has been burdened by debt after its 2016 takeover of nearest rival SABMiller and has made deleveraging a priority, selling its Australian operations and even trying to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong for its Asia operations. AB InBev separately said the deal would allow it to generate proceeds to repay debt and create shareholder value and added it would retain operational control of the plants. The world’s largest brewer said it has signed a long-term supply agreement for meeting its can needs over the duration of the deal with Apollo. AB InBev will have the right, but not the obligation, to re-acquire the minority stake after five years from the close of the transaction, the company said, adding it expected the deal to close by Jan 8. In October, the maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona lagers scrapped its interim dividend and said its quarterly profits dipped as the shift to drinking at home pushed up its costs. Apollo has also inched closer to buying Great Canadian Gaming Corp after the Canadian casino operator said it had gained shareholders approval for a buyout deal. Great Canadian Gaming Corp said its shareholders had voted in favor of a sweetened deal that would see Apollo Global Management Inc buy the Canadian casino operator for C$2.52bil (US$1.96bil). About 79% of Great Canadian Gaming shareholders approved the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. Apollo Global earlier this week agreed to increase its offer price to C$45 per share in cash from the previous offer of C$39 per share, which helped in gaining the support of shareholders who initially opposed the deal, including CI Global Asset Management. CI Global Portfolio Manager Stephen Groff said in a statement yesterday the asset manager considered various scenarios of the cash-flow generating capability of the business in a “more normal environment” and were pleased with the outcome. Great Canadian Gaming also said the deal would need regulatory approval. Casino operators have been heavily affected due to temporary facility closures and capacity restrictions, causing their shares to take a nosedive this year. — Reuters
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