US: Gov. Blunt requests federal review of InBev offer
Republican Gov. Matt Blunt has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, saying he is "opposed to the buyout" of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian brewer InBev.
The letter, sent yesterday (16 June), asks for a federal review of the proposed sale and states that he is "concerned the sale could create a near monopoly in the US beer market by combining the two large brewers".
He also said he's concerned the sale could damage the St. Louis and Missouri economies.
"In particular I am concerned that this sale would have destabilising impacts on our nation and state's long-term economic interests. I am opposed to this buyout and am asking you to conduct this review as quickly as possible," Blunt said in the letter to FTC chairman William E. Kovacic.
Blunt noted InBev's takeover of the largest American brewer would result in more than half of the beer sold in the US being controlled by a single company, and that if the sale goes through, the beer market would be dominated by two companies, together with the parent ownership of Miller Brewing by London-based SABMiller, restraining effective competition and trade in the beer market.
Earlier this month InBev made an offer to buy Anheuser-Busch for around US$46bn.
Anheuser-Busch has not yet responded to the offer but wrote a letter to InBev chief executive Carlos Brito yesterday, declining to elaborate on media reports that it had begun negotiations for a potential acquisition of Grupo Modelo.
Should that deal take place, it would make A-B too big for InBev to buy.
"I am strongly opposed to the sale of Anheuser-Busch," Blunt added. "Over its 150 years in business, Anheuser-Busch has become not only one of our state's most recognisable businesses, but the brand name 'Budweiser' has become an iconic symbol of American culture to people around the world."
Last week Blunt directed the Department of Economic Development to explore every option and any opportunity it may have at the state level to help keep Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri.
The offer by InBev amounts to $65 per-share and represents a 24% premium to Anheuser's share price on 22 May - the day before reports of merger talks surfaced.
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