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Miller/SAB negotiations are ongoing.

Miller and South African Breweries are continuing to talk about SAB's possible purchase of the Milwaukee brewer. But sources report any deal could take weeks or even months to hammer out. Analysts had expected Philip Morris would want to announce a deal prior to the company's shareholders meeting, held April 25th. Obviously, no such announcement was made.

The sale has been viewed as a plus for Philip Morris, since the Miller beer unit has been a lackluster performer, relative to PM's other consumer goods units. PM would be likely to plough proceeds from any sale into its tobacco or Kraft foods units.

Consultant Mark Rodman has said that a deal might not happen until early fall. That could allow Miller to retain continuity of management during the peak summer selling season, and would also allow SAB to gauge Miller's performance during the period, which runs through Labor Day.

There are numerous other theories about the delay. Reports in the British press have indicated that the $5 billion price tag for Miller might be a sticking point. SAB may be looking for a bargain, given Miller's lugubrious performance in recent years.

Some analysts have floated the possibility of another suitor for Miller. The first stories about the sale of Miller, back in January, posited a merger between Miller, SAB and Scottish & Newcastle.

The possible sale of Miller was originally reported in January as a proposed merger among three companies: Miller, South African Breweries and Scottish & Newcastle PLC, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. S & N execs recently announced possible sale of its pub and hotel group, which could raise $2.9 billion for acquisitions.
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Title Annotation:South African Breweries
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:May 27, 2002
Words:271
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