Merger rumors boost Interbrew IPO

Stock rises 6.7% on first day along with speculation about SAB deal

Dec 2, 2000 - Shares in the world's No. 2 brewer, Belgium's Interbrew, rose 6.7% Friday in their first day of public trading. The price was driven higher on speculation of a merger with South African Breweries.


The shares had been offered at $33 Euro, at the low end of the pre-IPO range of $30-$38. The company said that 6.2% of the offering had been placed with retail investors, adding that institutional demand had been strong. A company spokesperson said: "Sentiment in Britain appears to have changed after initial concerns over competition issues." Institutional investors had previously warned that regulatory concerns and a high price for the shares would make them more cautious when making their orders.

Spokesmen for both SAB and Interbrew wouldn't comment on the merger rumors that popped up Friday. But Graham MacKay, chief executive of the South African brewer, told analysts only Thursday his company is keen to find a merger or acquisition opportunity in coming months, in part to offset its ailing domestic beer business.

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