Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), which is in the midst of acquiring rival SABMiller, plans to cut 3% of the combined workforce or about 5,500 jobs, once the acquisition is completed. The news was revealed in shareholder documents relating to the £79bn ($103.76bn) acquisition that was published on Friday (26 August).
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona believes that the acquisition will help save $1.4bn annually within four full years of the transaction closing. It expects to achieve this through increased efficiency, sharing best practices and cutting overlapping staff and functions in both the corporate and regional headquarters.
While most of these savings will come from job redundancies, the cuts will not be immediate and will be more of a gradual process. AB InBev, which in July raised the final offer for SABMiller after the pound declined, expects the job cuts to happen over a three-year period.
According to Reuters, Belgium's AB InBev employs more than 150,000 people, while the London-based SABMiller has 70,000 employees. However, it is said the planned divestments across Europe along with joint venture stakes in the US and China, will ensure that the combined workforce will be lower than the summation of these figures.
The document, however, did not reveal which functions or departments would see the most job cuts. While it also did not reveal the locations that would see the redundancies, it was said that SABMiller's global headquarters in Woking was likely to see job losses.
The document, which gave full details of AB InBev's offer and the takeover process, also revealed that the headquarters of the combined company would be at Leuven, Belgium, while the global management team will be based out of New York. Also, it was noted that SABMiller's head office in London was likely to be closed within a year of the transaction closing, apart from the relocation of a few regional headquarters.
The potential AB InBev acquisition still needs the backing of SABMiller shareholders, who are expected to vote at a meeting on 28 September. The deal, if it were to go through, would be the third-largest corporate takeover in history, with both the companies expected to pay a total of $2bn in taxes and fees to advisers over the completion of this deal.