In connection with this week’s official $100 billion merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, Altria Group Inc. received 185,115,417 restricted shares of the combined company, AB InBev, representing a 9.6 percent economic and voting interest in AB InBev, and approximately $5.3 billion in pre-tax cash. In addition, Marty Barrington, Altria’s chairman, CEO and president, and Billy Gifford, Altria’s CFO, have been appointed to AB InBev’s board of directors.
“We are very pleased to see the successful completion of this transaction between these two great companies. The transaction allows Altria to continue its participation in the global brewing profit pool as a significant shareholder in AB InBev, and we are excited about the prospects for the long-term value of our investment,” said Barrington.
Altria’s board of directors has authorized the expansion of the current $1 billion share repurchase program to $3 billion, expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2018. The timing of share repurchases depends upon marketplace conditions and other factors. The program remains subject to the discretion of the board.
As a result of the transaction, Altria expects to record a total estimated pre-tax gain in its reported earnings of approximately $13.7 billion, or $4.55 per share, substantially all of which will be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Altria’s wholly-owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., Nu Mark LLC, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. and Philip Morris Capital Corp. The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen, Skoal, MarkTen and Green Smoke. Ste. Michelle produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, and it imports and markets Antinori, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Torres and Villa Maria Estate products in the U.S.