InBev, A-B Battle Takes a Friendly Turn

14 July 2008

ST LOUIS: After the posturing and legal threats, peace seems to have broken out in the takeover conflict between brewing giants Anheuser-Busch and Inbev, as ubiquitous but anonymous 'sources' claim a deal is imminent.

Latest indications from the camps is that the US Budweiser maker may be ready to accept a revised offer from the Belgian firm of around $50 billion (€31.6bn; £25.2bn).

InBev's original and unsolicited bid of $46.3bn, tabled last month, was dismissed by the A-B board, which said it undervalued the company.

Since then both sides have been to court, with the Belgian firm looking to oust A-B's directors, while the American brewer called InBev's takeover attempt an "illegal plan and scheme" to acquire it "at a bargain price". It has also criticised its rival for having operations in Cuba.

The new offer, however, is said to have the backing of investor and billionaire financier Warren Buffett, an endorsement that could swing the deal.

A union of the two companies would create the world's biggest brewer, but cause dismay among some US politicians and consumers who would prefer A-B to remain an independent American icon. 

InBev – best known for its Stella Artois brand – has given assurances it would keep St Louis as its North American HQ and would try to retain the Anheuser name in a new combined moniker.

    The Anheuser-Busch board agreed Sunday night to accept the offer from InBev for $70 a share, marking an amicable end to a month-long takeover battle. The deal values A-B at around $50 billion (€31.45bn; £25.13bn).
  • Data sourced from International Herald Tribune; additional content by WARC staff