Craft Brew Alliance Shareholders Vote in Favor of Merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev

The marriage of Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) and Anheuser-Busch InBev cleared another hurdle today as shareholders of the Portland, Oregon-headquartered craft beer maker voted to approve a sale of the company to the world’s largest beer manufacturer.

According to a press release, more than 98% of the shares, who voted by proxy and at the special meeting, were in favor of the deal, including a majority of outstanding shares held by investors other than A-B or related interests.

“Today’s decisively positive shareholder vote brings us even closer to cementing our expanded partnership with A-B,” CBA Chief Executive Officer Andy Thomas said in a press release. “For more than 25 years, our two companies have been working together to enrich the beer landscape with the highest-quality craft beer offerings, and we’re excited to build on that strong foundation and satisfy more consumers as one combined company.”

David Lord, chairman of the CBA board, thanked the company’s shareholders for their “overwhelming support” of the acquisition.

“In addition to delivering value for our shareholders, today’s outcome reflects the tremendous success that CBA and A-B have achieved in their decades-long partnership,” he added. “By joining with A-B, we look forward to accelerating the potential of CBA’s distinctive portfolio, led by Kona Brewing Company as a truly distinctive lifestyle brand, while continuing to invest in our local communities.”

The transaction still must meet regulatory approval, and the companies say the deal is expected to close in 2020.

The shareholder vote comes nearly three weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice asked both companies for additional information and documentation.

A-B finally struck an agreement to acquire CBA for $16.50 per share on November 11, three months after declining to make a qualifying offer of $24.50 per share on an August 2019 deadline. At that time, A-B’s options were to acquire the remaining 68.8% of CBA that it didn’t already own or pay a one-time $20 million fee, which it did.

Several shareholders filed lawsuits against CBA last month, claiming that the company omitted material information from proxy statements ahead of today’s vote. However, four of those lawsuits were dropped last week.

CBA’s brands include Kona, Widmer Brothers, Redhook, Cisco, Square Mile Cider, Wynwood Brewing, Omission, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and the pH Experiment. If the transaction wins regulatory approval, those brands will join the Brewers Collective, A-B’s craft division, which includes Goose Island, Elysian, 10 Barrel, Golden Road, Karbach and Wicked Weed, among others.

CBA stock (BREW) finished the trading day at $16.14 a share, while A-B stock (BUD) finished the day at $66.92.

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