Herbert Smith's Hong Kong Office Advises Brewery On Hostile Takeover Defense

Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 00:00

Herbert Smith has advised Harbin Brewery Group Limited in relation to an unprecedented takeover battle for a listed company with its business in the People's Republic of China. Harbin is China's fourth largest beer maker and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

On May 4, SABMiller plc launched a hostile bid for Harbin. Anheuser-Busch, a leading U.S. brewer, then trumped SABMiller's bid on June 1 in a deal that was supported by the Harbin management.

SABMiller has now withdrawn its bid that sparked the takeover struggle, clearing the way for Anheuser-Busch. In addition to withdrawing its offer, SABMiller has stated that it will accept Anheuser-Busch's offer in respect of its 29 percent interest in Harbin.

Tim Steadman, who led the Herbert Smith team, commented, "We are extremely pleased to have advised Harbin and led its defense on this significant, cutting-edge transaction for the China region, particularly given the favorable outcome for our client and its shareholders."

Mr. Steadman was assisted by Terence Lau, Alastair Duncan and Anny Leung (corporate). Tony Dymond (partner) provided advice on regulatory issues and Tim Bellis (partner) provided support from London.