Budweiser owner AB InBev slides 4% after trading suspension as Altria sells stake

In Europe

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AB InBev Budweiser and Bud Light brand beer cans at a store in the Queens borough of New York on Feb. 28, 2024.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, slipped more than 4% Thursday as trading resumed following a brief suspension amid emerging details of a sale by one of its major stakeholders.

Trading was suspended Thursday morning at the request of Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority after U.S. tobacco giant Altria said on Wednesday that it would cut its approximately 10% stake in the Belgian brewer.

Altria said it planned to sell 35 million of its 197 million shares in the company, representing about one-fifth of its total holding.

Trading of AB InBev resumed at 2 p.m. local time after details were released on the pricing of the share sale.

In a statement, the brewer said Altria’s underwriters would pay 54.7 euros, or $60 per share, which is about 6.5% less than Wednesday’s closing price of 58.82 euros per share. AB InBev said it plans to buy back $200 million worth of shares.

Shares were down 4.4% shortly after the resumption of trade.

The sale will see Altria’s holding in the company reduced to around 8%.

Altria said it planned to use the proceeds from the sale to fund additional share buybacks of its own stock.

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