Stella, say it isn’t so … Budweiser, The King of Beers, the nation’s biggest brewery to be sold to a foreign brewer, InBev? It may not get any more un-American than that. A piece of Americana, Anheuser-Busch Cos, may be sold off to a Belgian brewer for $46 billion. Some times one cannot put a price tag on branding that is synonymous with American culture. Spuds MacKenzie just rolled over in his grave after reading these headlines.
ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation’s biggest brewery, received a $46 billion buyout offer Wednesday from a Belgian brewer that might be too good to refuse.
The maker of Budweiser beer disclosed late Wednesday that InBev SA, whose brands include Beck’s and Stella Artois, delivered an unsolicited all-cash bid of $65 a share. It’s unclear whether senior Anheuser-Busch executives think the deal makes sense, but shareholders may be drawn to the offer that represents a sizable premium over the company’s closing price of $58.35 Wednesday.
If the deal goes through, it would create the world’s largest beer company and mark just the latest phase of consolidation in a global brewing industry that is facing rising ingredient costs and stale demand in the United States.
Opposition to the takeover has already begun. Anheuser-Busch executives better take a real close look at this unsolicited offer as this is not your ordinary “captains of industry” board room deal. Budweiser has become an iconic brand in the United States because it in part is directly tied to the United States.
Opposition to a potential takeover has already been fierce in Anheuser-Busch’s hometown of St. Louis, and elsewhere in the U.S. The brewer employs 6,000 people in St. Louis, and many workers are worried InBev would cut jobs as the companies consolidate.
Web sites have sprung up opposing the deal on patriotic grounds, arguing that such an iconic U.S. firm shouldn’t be handed over to foreign ownership. Republican Gov. Matt Blunt said Wednesday he opposes the deal, and directed the Missouri Department of Economic Development to see if there was a way to stop it.
“I am strongly opposed to the sale of Anheuser-Busch, and today’s offer to purchase the company is deeply troubling to me,” Blunt said in a statement.
Massive cuts could be on tap if InBev buys Busch; Cost-slicing Belgian firm makes $46.3 billion offer