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Old 07-14-2008, 12:42 PM
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American Icon Sold!

Monday, July 14, 2008
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Brewer InBev SA said Monday it will buy U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch for US$52 billion (?32.8 billion) to create the world's largest brewer.
Anheuser Busch Cos. said early Monday it had agreed to a sweetened US$52 billion (?32.8 billion) takeover bid from InBev, heading off what had promised to be a long and acrimonious fight for the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light beers.
The deal, expected to close by year-end, would create the world's largest brewer and the third-largest consumer product company under the name of Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The board of directors of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. on Sunday accepted the higher takeover offer from Belgian-based brewer InBev SA, according to a joint press release, days after the companies seemed set for a hostile takeover battle.
"I think we're going to bring the best of both companies into one company, our footprint with their amazing brands," InBev CEO Carlos Brito said in a video posted on InBev's Web site.
"What consumers care is that their Bud will always be their Bud, and that's what we're committed to, not only the product, the quality, the beer ... but also the heritage, the breweries, who brews the beers, and everything that's connected to the breweries," he said in a media conference call.
For InBev, the maker of Stella Artois and Beck's, the deal gives an aggressive company an iconic beer brand - Budweiser - to sell into emerging markets such as China and Brazil where it has already established a wide network.
InBev is the world's second-largest beer-maker, narrowly behind SABMiller. Swallowing Anheuser-Busch sees it leap ahead, capturing half of the U.S. beer market and a fifth of China and Russia.
Brito will be chief executive officer of the combined company, while Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV will step back into a non-executive role. He will be a member of the new company's board alongside one other nominee from Anheuser-Busch, yet to be named.
"We went through some difficult times together, and our employees did as well, but in the end this is a friendly transaction and we are going to work very hard for our new shareholders," Busch told reporters.
Shareholders will receive US$70 (?44.21) a share, a US$5 (?3.16) increase over the offer Anheuser-Busch rejected in June. Both companies' shareholders must approve the deal, as must U.S. and EU antitrust regulators.
The merger drew the attention of Mexico's Grupo Modelo. Anheuser-Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, which said in a statement Monday that its relationship with Anheuser-Busch gives it consent rights to the deal.
But Brito told reporters that he didn't "see any impediments coming from Modelo" and he was in "positive" talks about keeping the company as a partner. He said there were no immediate plans to buy out Modelo or divest Anheuser-Busch's stake in the company.
InBev said it plans to use St. Louis as its North American headquarters, and that it will keep open all 12 of Anheuser-Busch's North American breweries.
Brito tried to reassure workers worried about possible job loses, saying the company could instead expect "growth and investment" despite Anheuser-Busch's existing plans to shed 1,185 positions - mostly by offering early retirement and not filling existing vacancies.
The companies will, however, sell off "noncore assets" that they would not name to raise some US$7 billion (?4.4 billion) to finance the deal. InBev will also borrow US$45 billion (?28.4 billion) and plans to issue new shares to raise another US$9.8 billion (?6.2 billion).
Shareholders won't see much joy in the short-term. InBev warned of lower dividends and no benefit to earnings per share until 2010.
But it is promising longer-term rewards in a stalling market. Beer sales in North America and Europe are flat as drinkers turn to wine and spirits. InBev has compensated by finding new drinkers in Latin America, eastern Europe and Asia who will now be handed a cold Bud.
InBev cost synergies of at least US$1.5 billion (?950 million) a year by 2011 over three years. Most of that will come from managing the supply chain better. InBev's sharp eye on costs - which forces managers to justify every cent spent - will also play a major part.
Monday's kiss-and-make-up announcement from both companies came after several weeks of guns blazing. InBev said on June 11 it wanted to buy Anheuser-Busch, which distributes its beers in the U.S.
Anheuser-Busch shrugged off the first offer as too low, prompting InBev to seek the removal of all Anheuser's board members. Anheuser counterattacked, calling InBev's bid an "illegal scheme" because the company failed to mention that it owned a brewery in Cuba.
Few products are associated with America as much as Budweiser. Its Clydesdale horses are fixtures of Super Bowl ads, and even the label is red, white and blue, with an eagle swooping through the "A."
To some in St. Louis, losing Anheuser-Busch to foreign buyers, meant losing a little bit of history. From college buildings to theme parks to offices to the stadium where the Cardinals play baseball, the Busch name is virtually everywhere.
Despite more than 600 years of brewing beer in Belgium, Inbev is run by a Brazilian management team and sells most of its beer outside Europe.
It owns a massive portfolio of local brands from Siberia to Argentina that rarely travel. InBev has only recently started to push its two best-known brands - Stella Artois and Beck's - more widely.
---
Associated Press writer Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.
---
On the Net:
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.: http://www.anheuser-busch.com
InBev SA: http://www.inbev.com
Savebudweiser.com: http://savebudweiser.com
SaveAP.com: http://saveab.com


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Old 07-14-2008, 12:56 PM
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Another American Icon Under Foreign Control
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Old 07-14-2008, 01:22 PM
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So much for quality Belgium beers...
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:36 PM
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I try and not purchase foreign made goods when I can. the only problem is that it is increasingly more difficult to find ANYTHING made in the USA!! Heck, even Mercedes is making cars in China, how can they even put a star on the hood of that?????
They've put stars on the hood no matter where they were made. Including South Africa. There's really no such thing as national competence any longer. Pretty much every thing is interanationalized and will continue to become ever more so in the future.

- Peter.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:15 PM
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:19 PM
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From what I know Budweiser was nothing but a cheap ripoff of quality, Czech-made Bud Light beer. Budweiser was nothing that Americans should be proud of.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:28 PM
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To be honest, I could say when the last time I knowingly consumed an A-B product in the last five years. In the fridge right now, there is a pint of Boddington and four bottles of Kona Brewing Firerock Pale Ale.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:58 PM
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remember when NAFTA was passed and Ross Perot predicted a "giant sucking sound??" they are sucking the life blood out of us.
what actually happened is our jobs went to mexico,for every one job that went to mexico we got 100 mexicans in return.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:53 PM
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How is InBev's purchase of A-B related to NAFTA?
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselAddict View Post
From what I know Budweiser was nothing but a cheap ripoff of quality, Czech-made Bud Light beer. Budweiser was nothing that Americans should be proud of.
Budawasser.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:16 PM
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this is just another in a long line of foreign takeovers. Everything in this country that isn't nailed down is for sale to the highest bidder. Wrangler Jeans closed all of it's North Carolina plants and started making blue jeans in Mexico. remember when NAFTA was passed and Ross Perot predicted a "giant sucking sound??" they are sucking the life blood out of us. I try and not purchase foreign made goods when I can. the only problem is that it is increasingly more difficult to find ANYTHING made in the USA!! Heck, even Mercedes is making cars in China, how can they even put a star on the hood of that?????
I think it's a huge assumption to make that AB will no longer make budweiser in the states.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:22 PM
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Yeah, but one can hope, can't one?
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:46 PM
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Wow, perhaps A-B's fate is the direct result of the "feminization" of the US male. There was a time when a beer was just a simple refreshment, a glass of suds, a brewski, a working class, blue collar staple.

Now it's meshed with "image" and brand so much that its mere purchase and consumption is part of the snobbery of identity and standing.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:05 PM
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This whole thing is a fiasco...the Busch's have lived like kings in STL for decades, they are immune to laws that mere mortals like myself have to obey, August III helicopters to work from his farm in St Peters MO. There is supposedly a whole protocol in place for how the Escalades are lined up at Spirit of St Louis airport when the Busches step off one of the corporate jets...45 degree angle to the plane, with the back hatches open, ready to accept luggage and whisk the royalty off to their destination. Things are gonna change, and fast, under InBev's control...no more fancy dining room for exec's, no more Escalades and S-Class MB's, sounds like August III will retire from an active role.

The brewery has made a concerted effort to make everyone in the STL metro feel like A-B is a cultural icon, sort of like the Gateway Arch, when in reality it is a publicly traded corporate entity that the family owns just a small chunk of.

If A-B had watched their spending for the past 20 years and did more international expansion instead of stagnating, perhaps we wouldn't be having this discussion.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:49 PM
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So much for quality Belgium beers...
You're quite an astute gentleman.

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