InBev and A-B in talks to become super brewer

27 August, 2008
Page 5 
At the time of going to press, InBev has launched an unprecedented US$46 billion bid to buy US beer giant Anheuser-Busch, in a move that would create the world's largest brewer.

InBev said it sought open negotiations with A-B on the offer, which is in cash and values the Budweiser owner at US$65 per share.

A deal between the two would be the largest ever in alcoholic drinks, creating one of the world's top five consumer product companies. It would also be the latest in a wave of consolidation across the brewing sector, following the buyout of Scottish & Newcastle as well as a tie-up between SABMiller and Molson Coors in the US.

Carlos Brito, InBev chief executive, said: "We view this combination as a natural next step for both companies, which already enjoy successful partnerships in the US, Canada and South Korea."

In an open letter to A-B president August Busch, Brito asserted his respect for the US group's heritage : "We would position Budweiser as our global flagship brand, leveraging our international footprint to enhance the brand's image and exposure."

InBev's minor presence on the US market means competition concerns are unlikely to block a deal completely .

A-B's board, which has previously rebuffed tentative advances from InBev, acknowledged receipt of the US$46 billion bid.

"The board of directors will evaluate the proposal carefully and in the context of all relevant factors, including Anheuser-Busch's long-term strategic plan," the group has stated.

Around 30,000 people have signed an online consumer petition in the US in an effort to keep A-B American.

Petition founder Daniel Fowler told Drinks Inter­national: "There are so many people out there who are proud of this company and hope it remains American owned . "

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