US brewer Anheuser-Busch has accepted an improved 33 billion euro takeover bid from Belgium-based InBev. It is the biggest brewing industry deal ever and the third largest foreign takeover of a US company. InBev, combined with Anheuser-Busch, will retake the number one position in world brewing, ahead of SABMiller.
The agreement follows weekend meetings and former Anheuser Busch Executive, Bill Finney, praised his ex-colleagues for getting the price up to $70 a share: “Management board did a heck of a job negotiating. Sixty-five was a good number for them, but they played hard to get. They got an extra five dollars a share, which is three and a half billion dollars for Anheuser-Busch shareholders by playing the game. They played it well.”
To head off political opposition in the US, InBev has promised not to close any breweries there, but there are likely to be some layoffs as part of big cost synergies. The beer industry has been consolidating recently to counter rising prices for key ingredients such as hops, aluminium for beer cans and fuel for transport.
Inbev also gains almost half of the US beer market and a well known brand – Budweiser – which it can take global.