Allied Lyons Vs Fosters Brewery
International Battle over Booze
Fosters, an Australian brewery through Elders had targeted a takeover candidate in the U.K., Allied Lyons PLC that sought the assistance of the U.K. anti-monopoly commission. The takeover candidate alleged that the Australian company was profitable only due to aggressive acquisition accounting. The question arose as to whether or not their public filings could support this allegation. It was time for international travel, a penetrating pursuit of public filings in Australia and lessons on how to make the best use of time in business class.
With many available hours and no phones, it can become time well spent to analyze the many years of annual reports of the parent company and the annual reports of each subsidiary. The movement of assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses amongst 100 acquisitions and the ever-changing location for each year’s profits appeared to support the allegation. For me, this experience confirmed that business and fraud are international languages and as I later realized after more international exposure, the human element remains a constant, notwithstanding the culture.