Blog: Call my bluff
Chris Brook-Carter | 27 July 2004
Ian Molson, an ex-board member of Molson, is apparently in talks with other international brewers, according to press reports, as part of his plan to deliver a competing C$4 bln buyout plan for the company.
Both Heineken and SABMiller have been linked to these talks.
But how seriously these rumours should be taken is debatable. "Don't believe everything you read in the press," one contact close to the situation told just-drinks today. "It is a hard sell to get anyone to buy Molson at the moment because its a huge turnaround project."
This corporate battle is fast becoming characterised by bluff and brinkmanship.
The tone has been set by claims by Coors CEO Leo Kiely that he would pull out of the current distribution deal with Molson should the Canadian brewer fall into other hands. An existing joint-venture marketing deal allows Molson to brew and sell Coors Light in Canada. Losing that deal would cost the Canadian brewer millions.
A number of analysts already believe Kiely is bluffing and his comments have sparked some great reactions in the Canadian press, particularly one article in the Globe and Mail.
Bluffing, bluffing, bluffing," said David Hartley, an analyst at First Associates Investments in Toronto.
"It's despicable," one anonymous Molson shareholder was quoted as saying. The two CEOs "are just trying to blow smoke to get it out there in the press . . . I think it's ridiculous."
They may have a point. After all, the deal has become almost as important to Coors. Coors Light holds around 8.5% of the market in Canada and the alternatives to the Molson distribution deal do not add up. The US brewer could export to Canada - an expensive option. Or, it could set up its own breweries in the country - again expensive. Or it could find another distributor - but who?
Heavy metal legend Bruce Dickinson - lead singer of the band Iron Maiden, for the unitiated - is clearly a man not afraid to get his hands dirty. ...
The homebrewing revival continues in the UK - and evidence has come that even the supermarket chains are taking it semi-seriously. ...
Does Pernod Ricard have something to hide? In a press conference after the release of full-year results today, only a quarter of the 100 minutes were given over to questions from journalists....
Here's a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks last week, featuring Carlsberg, Heineken, Coca-Cola Amatil, California's winelands and Cognac....
- The End of the Road for International Beer Brands?
- Allegro: The shape of things to come at Pernod?
- Comment - Another One Bites Bacardi's Dust
- Pernod Ricard's FY Performance by Region, Brand
- US craft vodka puts squeeze on Pernod's Absolut
- Mast-Jägermeister targets UK off-trade boost
- Pernod bemoans tough FY as sales, profits drop
- ASA bans Jägermeister TV ad
- Bacardi announces CFO switch
- SABMiller exec to become CFO at Beam Suntory