James Wilmore

just Five Years Ago: InBev's Acquisition of Anheuser-Busch

By | 11 July 2013

Anheuser-Busch accepted a bid from InBev five years ago this week

Anheuser-Busch accepted a bid from InBev five years ago this week

Five years ago this month, the global beer world changed forever. After a shorter-than-anticipated period of wrangling, US brewer Anheuser-Busch accepted a US$52bn takeover bid from Belgium brewer InBev, thus creating the world's biggest brewer.

This seismic deal would not have seemed possible earlier in the decade: Here was a patriotic, 150-year-old US family company with its self-styled 'King of Beers' brand Budweiser; what chances that it would be taken over by a European group?

But, it happened.

As just-drinks noted in its Noughties' round-up, in 2003, InterBrew, as it was then known, had only Stella Artois as a global brand. However, its capture of Brazil's AmBev in 2004 transformed the company, renamed InBev, paving the way for its bid for A-B.

Despite objections from many quarters, including US senators, mayors and would-be presidents - not to mention the 'Save our Bud' bumper stickers, the deal was eventually completed in November 2008

Since then Anheuser-Busch InBev has cemented its positon as the world's biggest brewer. Cleverly, the company has managed to maintain Budweiser as an iconic American brand, even though its owned by a company headquartered in Belgium. 

As just-drinks' editor, Olly Wehring, noted at the time this scale of consolidation in the brewing world appeared to have peaked in 2008 with Heineken and Carlsberg's takeover of Scottish & Newcastle adding to the flurry of M&A activity. 

But in the last 12 months, with Heineken's swoop for Asia Pacific Breweries and A-B InBev paying US$20bn for its old foes, now friends, Modelo, the brewing merger wheel has once again begun to turn. 

Meanwhile, talk of another brewing "mega-merger" between A-B InBev and SABMiller rumbles on. But, we may have to wait some time as the Budweiser brewer gets its head round its shiny new Mexican prize. 

Expert analysis

Global Beer

Global Beer industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: market share, market size (value and volume 2007-11, and forecast to 2016). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the Global beer market. Includes market size and segmentation data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Emerging markets – BRIC, Mergers & acquisitions

Companies: InBev, Heineken, Modelo, Carlsberg, SABMiller

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