The prospect of combining with SABMiller was a historic opportunity for AB InBev to become the first truly global brewer. It would give the company exposure to Africa, a continent with significant growth potential, an expanded footprint in Latin America and a strong position in the stable and profitable Australian market.
A transaction of this scale and complexity would of course come with certain challenges. It would require the largest ever syndicated bank loan financing for a corporate. In addition, AB InBev would have to work on gaining regulatory approval in multiple jurisdictions and execute a series of disposals to meet anti-trust requirements.
Given the size and complexity of the transaction, AB InBev chose its banking partners with great care. Based on its existing relationship and track record in delivering acquisition financing for the company, MUFG was an obvious partner.
MUFG executed on three levels: the initial syndicated bank financing, FX hedging and a major Debt Capital Markets programme. The $75bn bank financing was delivered in one, two, three and five year tranches to give AB InBev plenty of time to repay. However, MUFG soon worked as a Bookrunner on the successful issuance of two bonds valued at $46bn and €13.25bn respectively.
SABMiller was listed in London and its shares were consequently denominated in sterling, which meant that a very significant FX hedging operation was required. After the UK's vote to exit the European Union, the resulting devaluation in sterling forced AB InBev to amend its final offer upwards. During the subsequent weeks, MUFG had to be flexible and deliver rapidly in order to be responsive to M&A timetables.
Throughout the process, MUFG worked hard to put forward solutions rather than simply identify problems for the company, for example, in providing valuable situational and loan structuring advice.
AB InBev is now one of the world's leading consumer products companies. The combination led to the company having a truly global presence and a broader distribution platform from which to further develop major brands including Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois.
It was no accident that MUFG's team were brought on board for this major transaction. When the call came, it was part of a long and well-articulated conversation with the company, including regular engagement around theoretical scenario planning.
Fernando Tennenbaum, Global Treasurer at AB InBev, said:
"MUFG is a bank I know I can trust. It has a history of delivering on its commitments and as a client you know that MUFG is going to be at your side, supporting you. We are always looking for long term partners and MUFG shares the same philosophy."