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The King of Beers and Belgian brewer InBev are hosting their very own beer bash.
Both companies’ boards of directors have agreed to combine the two, forming Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The $52 billion deal is now subject to the approval of InBev and Anheuser-Busch shareholders and other regulatory approvals. If it’s finalized, Anheuser-Busch shareholders will receive $70 per share.
About 40% of the proposed Anheuser-Busch InBev’s revenues would be generated in the U.S. The company’s North American regional headquarters would be in St. Louis.
Based in Leuven, Belgium, InBev is a leading global brewer of such brands as Stella Artois and Beck’s. InBev’s chief executive officer, Carlos Brito, would be CEO of the combined company.
“Together, Anheuser-Busch and InBev will be able to accomplish much more than each can on its own,” Brito said in a statement. “This will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network.”
Anheuser-Busch would become a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev upon completion of the deal, which could happen by the end of 2008. A-B’s CEO August Busch IV would serve on the board of directors of the combined company in a non-executive role.
“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.”
Brito said all 12 of A-B’s U.S. breweries would remain open.
In a press conference last week, Brito said InBev supports A-B’s “Blue Ocean” costcutting plan, which includes a 10% to 15% workforce reduction that would include 850 to 1,300 of its 8,600 full-time salaried workers. It expects that to happen mostly through early retirement, attrition and by not filling open positions. Other cost-saving steps include production, materials and energy savings; price increases; and an enhanced stock buyback and dividend payout.
A-B will save energy by expanding its use of rail transport and working with suppliers to reduce the weight of its transportation equipment. Also, the company will leverage RFID technology to shorten truck idle times at retail accounts, August Busch IV told SN.
Last week’s announcement came after A-B fought InBev’s initial $46.4 billion takeover bid in June, maintaining the initial $65 per share price was not adequate.
At that time Busch told SN that A-B was not surprised that others would want to benefit from the brand equity of Bud Light and Budweiser.
— CAROL ANGRISANI