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Brewing giant eyes up rival for bid.

BELGIAN brewing giant Interbrew has undertaken analysis of South African Breweries which could lead to a takeover offer for the London-listed firm, it emerged yesterday.

The Belgian firm said it had undertaken a "preliminary analysis of SAB as part of its routine annual review of the leading brewers of the world".

It added: "Interbrew confirms that the analysis, which is at a very preliminary stage, may or may not lead to an offer for SAB at some time in the future but can confirm that no approach has been made on the matter."

The comments follow a surge in SAB's share price this morning after a report in the Financial Times said Interbrew had been plotting a bid for SAB.

The paper said it had seen documents prepared by advisers which indicated an approach could be announced on December 3.

It speculated a bidder would have to offer more than pounds 4 billion for SAB.

Shares in SAB jumped 10% in trading this morning to 489p, valuing the firm at pounds 3.8 billion.

Analysts gave credence to the speculation, saying a tieup would make sense and the pair would be a "strong combination", while a bid could fuel further deals in the sector.

David Liston, analyst at fund manager Gerrard, said:

"It could well make a lot of sense.

"We have had globalisation of many industries and we are having that process in brewing - there have been a number of acquisitions in the sector and both Interbrew and SAB have featured strongly in those acquisitions."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Nov 29, 2001
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