Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewing company in the United States and the makers of Budweiser, has been given a very generous buyout offer from InBev, the Brazilian-Belgian company that makes Stella Artois and Beck’s.
Is this the end of Anheuser-Busch as a top American brand? Will they replace the eagle with some sort of Brazilian frog or Belgian ferret?
The offer is for $46.4 billion, equal to about $65 per share – that’s worth 14% more than the stock is currently trading for. Additionally, InBev claims most of the current trading is speculation on the deal, so their offer is actually 35% more than the Anheuser-Busch stock is worth.
This deal has been kicking around for a while and late last month we wrote about some worrisome statements from InBev about their ‘global drinks industry consolidation end game.’ However, now this deal looks very real and a genuine offer is right on the table. Most analysts are saying it would be stupid for the Bud dudes to not take the deal. According to an article from Portfolio today:
Indeed, there is a compelling logic in the combination of the home of Budweiser and the brewer of Stella Artois and Beck’s. There is little geographical overlap, with Anheuser-Busch dominating the United States and InBev leading in Europe and South America. Beer sales in Europe and North America have been sluggish in recent years; the real growth has been in Asia and Latin America.
And with commodity costs rising, from barley and hops to aluminum for cans, it makes sense to have even greater scale for increased buying power and distribution heft.
But what about Anheuser-Busch as an American brand? It has been run by the Anheuser and Busch families for over 150 years. It is a hallmark and an institution in the city of St. Louis and the governor of Missouri has publicly said he is troubled by the news of their purchase.
Who can argue with InBev wanting to take over a company that has 48% of the American beer marketshare. That’s right, 48% of all beers purchased in the US are A-B products. Surprising, right?
Even myself, a New Jersey resident and a frequent traveler on the famed and hated NJ Turnpike, recognizes the large blazing and swirling A-B sign that has become a landmark of Newark, NJ. Of course all of these things will probably not change. It may just be a foreign owned beer monopoly in business practices, but are we losing a major American brand in the process?
Check out the InBev CEO’s pandering to Bud drinkers about the deal in this video interview.
Let us know in the comments section if you think this deal should happen. And, as always, this Bud’s for you.
MarketWatch: Market Cheers InBev Bid, June 12, 2008
Portfolio: Brewing Bid Battle, June 12, 2008