(2128,5 GBp, -2,45%) has made an unsolicited offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Foster's at A$ 4.9 per share, valuing the company's Enterprise Value at A$ 11.2bn. claims this represents an EV/EBITDA11e multiple of 12.5x, which we view at least in line to slightly above recent major industry transactions such as the (41,46 EUR, 1,73%) acquisitions of FEMSA Cerveza and Scottish & Newcastle (along with Carlsberg) as well as the (40,49 EUR, 1,64%) acquisition by InBev.
Foster's has rejected the offer saying it undervalues the company.
This all seems very logical, as Foster's has recently spun off its wine division in an effort to become a more focussed company and create shareholder value. is the logical candidate in our opinion as amongst the other majors, is still working hard on the integration of FEMSA, ABI's management is incentivized/focussed on reducing gearing from the 2.9x net debt/EBITDA at year end 2010 to below 2.0x by end 2013 and Carlsberg is a bit small for this. is also the one amongst the tier one players which has not done a major acquisition recently and hence which has a very strong balance sheet (net debt /EBITDA well below 2x). We do not really expect a counterbid from or AB InBev. remains our favourite given the recent return to organic volume growth after 8 consecutive quarters of declines, the significant self-help we expect from further efficiency improvements (along with the € 108m remaining targeted FEMSA synergies) and a significant valuation discount vs the other top 3 players ABI and . is currently trading at 7.9x EV/EBITDA11e vs 10.6x for AB InBev and 11.5x for .
We rate as a BUY with a € 50 target price. AB InBev is an Accumulate with € 47 target price.