Wed, Sep 18, 2019 - Page 10 News List

AB InBev to seek US$4.84bn from HK IPO


Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (AB InBev) has revived the Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) of its Asian unit and is set to raise as much as HK$37.9 billion (US$4.84 billion), about half of an earlier target, people with knowledge of the matter said.

About 1.26 billion of Budweiser Brewing Co APAC Ltd shares are to be marketed at HK$27 to HK$30 each, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

The brewer shelved a share sale in July in which it sought to raise as much as US$9.8 billion and agreed to sell its Australian business to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd for US$11.3 billion a week later.

The offering, which is scheduled to begin today, has attracted GIC Pte as a cornerstone investor with a commitment of about US$1 billion, one of the people said.

Budweiser Brewing is expected to price the shares on Monday next week and to debut on the following Monday, the people said.

The return of Budweiser Brewing’s IPO is set to boost the Hong Kong bourse at a time when the territory’s anti-government protests and trade tensions between US and China are rocking the market.

It would also propel Hong Kong past Shanghai as the world’s No. 3 in terms of first-time share sale volume.

Excluding Budweiser Brewing, companies have raised a total of US$10.8 billion through IPOs in the financial hub this year, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

At US$4.84 billion, the brewer’s IPO would be the world’s second-largest this year, trailing Uber Technologies Inc’s US$8.1 billion US sale in May, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

“If Budweiser can go public successfully, it will have a positive impact on Hong Kong’s capital markets that would demonstrate there’s good appetite for major listings,” Hong Kong-based Deloitte China national public offering group coleader Edward Au (歐振興) said.

That would also pave the way for upcoming smaller share sales, he added.

Representatives for AB InBev and GIC declined to comment.

Separately, WeWork Cos Inc, with its estimated valuation crashing, said it expects to complete its IPO by the end of this year.

“The We Company is looking forward to our upcoming IPO, which we expect to be completed by the end of the year,” the company said in a statement on Monday evening in New York. ”We want to thank all of our employees, members and partners for their ongoing commitment.”

Bloomberg News reported earlier that the offering is likely to be postponed until at least next month.

Softbank Group Corp, the rental office company’s biggest investor, had pressed WeWork to put off the stock offering amid doubts about the business, people familiar with the matter said previously.

WeWork had planned to begin making its pitch to investors in a roadshow as soon as this week.

WeWork’s likely delay was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

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