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Sunday, June 01, 2008

A-B deathwatch: 1 June

A wag on DC-Beer asked: If InBev (putatively Belgian) were to purchase Anheuser-Busch (at the present time, at least, still American-owned), would Bud Lite then be a Belgian beer?

A person in the upper echelons of the craft beer business told me that he wouldn't be unhappy if InBev were to purchase Anheuser-Busch. The large brewery/import distribution turmoil it would cause, would, he stated, create opportunities for the craft breweries.

I wouldn't be so sanguine. Distributor network relationships are byzantine. Wholesale changes (pun intended) might produce unforeseen consequences, some unfavorable, along the entire distribution chain. The devil you know would be better than the devil you don't.

LONDON (Reuters) June 1, 2008 - Belgium's InBev NV is close to securing a $50 billion financing package to enable it to launch a takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc (BUD.N), maker of Budweiser beer, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The paper said InBev, the world's second-biggest brewer, had held talks with banks JP Morgan, Santander , BNP Paribas and Merrill Lynch about a financing package.

Once it has guarantees from the banks, InBev could write a formal letter to Anheuser-Busch's board, a move expected as early as this week, the paper said, quoting market sources.

A source familiar with the situation said last week that InBev was still considering whether to bid for the U.S. brewer and had not yet begun merger talks.

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