ROB ROSE: Heineken heeds the lesson of SABMiller
The Dutch brewer’s R40bn offer for Distell comes five years after AB InBev overpaid for SABMiller. Heineken was never going to make the same mistake
The world’s second-largest brewer, Heineken, is surely counting its blessings that its larger rival, AB InBev, stomped all over the African landmines first. It’s a lesson that Heineken, controlled by two Dutch families, the Hoyers and the Heinekens, surely heeded before it took a swig of the hard stuff and offered to write a R40bn cheque to buy Stellenbosch-based drinks group Distell.
It’s some cautionary tale, too. The story is that in 2016, AB InBev’s Brazilian CEO, Carlos Brito, moved heaven and earth to buy SABMiller, forking out $122bn for the company that traced its beginnings to the brewery set up in the 1880s by Englishman Charles Glass in, it is believed, what is now Marshalltown in central Joburg...