Brito: Anheuser-Busch Cost-Cutting Plan Still a Go

InBev chief executive officer Carlos Brito, who will be CEO of the proposed Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing company, plans to keep A-B’s existing cost-cutting plan in place.

LEUVEN, Belgium and ST. LOUIS — InBev chief executive officer Carlos Brito, who will be CEO of the proposed Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing company, plans to keep A-B’s existing cost-cutting plan in place. During a press conference yesterday, Brito said InBev supports A-B’s so-called “Blue Ocean” cost-cutting plan, which includes a 10% to 15% workforce reduction, or 850 to 1,300 of its 8,600 full-time salaried workers. InBev expects that to happen mostly through early retirement, attrition and by not filling open positions. “We will continue to support that plan,” Brito said. As for the future of A-B’s U.S. operations, Brito said all 12 U.S. breweries will remain open. Anheuser-Busch and InBev have agreed to a $52 billion combination of the two what will be called into Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s leading brewer. Anheuser-Busch shareholders will receive $70 per share. Both companies’ boards of directors unanimously approved the acquisition, which is now subject to the approval of InBev and Anheuser-Busch shareholders and other regulatory approvals. “This combination will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network, with great potential for growth all over the world,” Brito said. Anheuser-Busch will become a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev upon completion of the deal. A-B CEO August Busch IV will serve on the board of directors of the combined company. “This agreement provides additional and certain value for Anheuser-Busch shareholders, while enhancing global market access for Budweiser, one of America’s true iconic brands,” Busch said. “We will leverage our collective strengths to create a truly diversified, global company to sustain long-term growth and profitability.” The acquisition agreement came after A-B fought InBev’s initial $46.3 billion takeover bid in June, maintaining that the $65-a-share price was not adequate.

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