Thursday, June 12, 2008

Forget apple pie what about Anheuser-Busch?

Editor's note: this has nothing to do with Penn State football but it hits close to home as far as I'm concerned.

Rumors have been flying for some time now that the nation's largest brewery is being targeted by InBev SA, a Belgian brewer, in a hostile takeover attempt. It appears the rumors are true.

The maker of Budweiser beer disclosed late Wednesday that InBev SA delivered an unsolicited all-cash bid of $65 a share. It's unclear whether senior Anheuser-Busch executives think the deal makes sense, but shareholders may be drawn to the offer that represents a sizable premium over the company's closing price of $58.35 Wednesday.

As a matter of full discloser, I'm not a flag waving, hand over my heart national anthem singing, red-white-and blue blooded American; in fact I pretty much question anything the government does but having said that is there really anything more American than Budweiser beer? I've ingested heroic amounts of Michelob light when I'm out and Busch light at home because A) my body can't handle the high calorie or alcohol content of regular beer in the quantities I drink and B) it's readily available at every bar and distributer. Oh, and Bush light brings out the inner redneck in me (ye haw!).

Don't get me wrong I'm a beer aficionado at heart, I've probably tried thousands of different types of beer in my life and breweries in Belgium make more beer (read: different varieties) in a calendar year than the rest of the world combined but no way in hell should a foreign company be permitted to take over Anheuser-Busch. Not only are we talking about the possibility of losing thousands of American jobs but we don't want to lose an American icon.

Worries about job cuts at Anheuser-Busch could be justified. InBev has a reputation for squeezing costs out of the companies it acquires, said Benj Steinman, editor of the Beer Marketer's Insights trade publication. Because of its size, and control of nearly half the U.S. beer market, Anheuser-Busch could be a ripe target for cost-cutting.

Do we really want the maker of Beck's and Stella Artois to run our beer company? Come on, Beck's is swill and Stella is nothing more than corporate yuppie drank. Yeah, I love craft beer (hell I make my own) and a Blue Moon or Corona w/ lime every now and then is a treat but when it comes down to it, dollar for dollar an ice cold Anheuser-Busch product quenches the thirst on a warm sunny summer day. Let's just hope, in the future, it's an American Anheuser-Busch product.


rahpsu said...

Questioning everything the government does is quintessentially American.

As undrinkable as I think most AB products are I agree that it would be difficult to see an American icon come under foreign ownership. Of course InBev already distributes many of their products in the US via AB distributors.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. AB has been hurting for a while now. Talk has been about Grupo Medelo becoming part of AB to thwart Inbev's play.

It would be nice to go to Busch Gardens and drink a Corona on a hot day.

(isn't Blue Moon a product of another foreign conglomerate SABMiller?)

Galen said...

Yes Blue Moon is I have no problem drinking foreign products I love belgian style wheat beer so much so I would probably chose it over sex... ok, maybe not.