InBev has turned up the heat in its $46bn (£23bn) takeover bid on Budweiser's owner Anheuser-Busch, calling for the target's entire board to be ousted in its first direct appeal to shareholders.
In the first formally hostile move, Inbev said it was to file a document with the Securities and Exchanges Commission "seeking to remove each member of the board of directors of Anheuser-Busch, and provide shareholders an opportunity to have a direct voice in the proposed combination with InBev". The document will be sent to shareholders within 20 days. Anheuser did not return calls asking for comment last night.
InBev has proposed installing an independent board to replace the existing one, after the US group rejected its $65 per share offer as "financially inadequate" last month.
All of the names proposed are independent of both companies except Adolphus Busch IV, the the uncle of the current president and chief executive August Busch IV. Others nominated by InBev include Henry McKinnell, the former chairman of Pfizer, and James Healey, the former chief financial officer of Nabisco.
Carlos Brito, InBev's chief executive, said its preference was to remain in "constructive" talks with Anheuser over a deal. So far, Anheuser has refused to enter into negotiations, forcing InBev to go directly to shareholders. Last month, InBev filed a suit to confirm Anheuser shareholders were able under Delaware law to remove the existing board. It is waiting for Anheuser to set a deadline for shareholders to reply, before it sends out the document to shareholders.