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Anheuser-Busch may have gotten Harbin

June 1, 2004 at 12:49 PM

ST. LOUIS, June 1 (UPI) -- St. Louis' Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer, has outbid a European rival for China's Harbin brewery, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Anheuser is expected to announce an offer for Harbin of $717 million, which is 30 percent greater than the amount offered by London's SABMiller.

Anheuser already owns 36 percent of Harbin and so only needs another 15 percent to gain control.

"Our initial investment in Harbin Brewery and this general offer reflect the strategic value Anheuser-Busch places on the company," said Patrick Stokes, president and chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.

Anheuser's bid is likely to be backed by Harbin's management, which had rejected SABMiller's offer, the Financial Times said.

SABMiller, which holds a 29 percent stake in Harbin, will have to decide whether to counterbid in the next few days to prevent other shareholders selling to Anheuser or sell out for a huge profit.

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