Blog: Olly WehringInBev & Anheuser-Busch - this one's going to run and... Eh? Oh.

Olly Wehring | 14 July 2008

Well, that was quick, wasn't it? Just as we were settling down to enjoy what we all were convinced would be a long summer of takeover to-ing and fro-ing, Anheuser-Busch this morning decided that the price was right, and climbed into bed with InBev. While I'm not one to gloat – honestly, mum – I did say that, despite all the nationalistic noises coming out of the US, InBev's move for A-B would come down to numbers, pure and simple.

What makes InBev's victory – at US$70 per share – so anti-climactic is that some of A-B's comments in the past few weeks had suggested we could look forward to a battle royale that could have gone on for quite some time. Only last month, A-B's CEO, August Busch IV, was quoted as saying a takeover would not occur “on my watch”. The US brewer also suggested last week that the presence of an InBev subsidiary in Cuba sits ill for a potential tie-up.

We've also had US senators wade in, and even the possible president-in-waiting, Barrack Obama, saying last week that he felt the takeover of A-B by a non-US company would be “a shame”.

Evenso, the deal is done and dusted. What appears to be the major issue outstanding, however, is what will become of Grupo Modelo. The Mexican brewer, which is 50%-owned by A-B, appeared to object most strongly last month to being used as a pawn by A-B, and Modelo has now said it is “reserving its contractual rights”. While A-B's holding in Modelo is not a deal-maker or -breaker, this side-story could at least provide us with some entertainment this summer, now that the blockbuster has finished.


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