InBev-Anheuser Busch Deal Back On
The King of Beers is moving closer to wearing a foreign crown. After a week of contentious wrangling that included lawsuits and Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Anheuser-Busch, according to published reports and people who have been briefed, has engaged Belgian brewing giant InBev on a $70-per-share, nearly $50 billion deal to buy the company.The Busch family, who own only 4% of the stock, are helpless to stop it. Analysts expect the deal to be done this weekend. As I've mentioned before, this seems uniformly like a bad thing. Strangely, as I read the news, my mind went to Nelson Muntz, perhaps meanly. "Ha Ha, you failed to protect your quintessentially American brand and now a bunch of Flemish-speaking Belgians have purchased your corporation!"
The St. Louis-based parent of Budweiser beer has been working for six weeks in a campaign to discourage InBev (BusinessWeek.com, 7/10/08), line up politicians to oppose the deal, and convince shareholders that a takeover by InBev, which markets brands like Stella Artois, Bass, and Beck's, is not in the best interest of the company or their investments. But a sweetened offer and mounting pressure on A-B management have brought the two companies to actual negotiations.