A heady scenario

Belgian beer giant InBev is in the early stages of preparing what could be a $44.6 billion offer for Anheuser-Busch, reported The Financial Times’ Alphaville blog last week. InBev, the world’s largest brewer by sales volume and the maker of Stella Artois, drinking up Anheuser-Busch, which has more than 50 percent of the U.S. beer market, would certainly be heady. In fact, it would be the largest beverage deal ever. In response to the gossip, shares in Anheuser-Busch jumped more than 7.6 percent on Friday, to close at $56.61, its highest closing price in more than 10 years. According to Alphaville blog, InBev is prepared to pay $65 a share. The two companies already share some ties, reports The New York Times. InBev distributes Budweiser in Canada, and Anheuser-Busch imports InBev beers like Stella Artois and Bass. In 2006, InBev sold its Rolling Rock brand to Anheuser-Busch for $82 million. Would Anheuser-Busch’s management agree to cede control of the iconic company? Members of the Anheuser or Busch families have controlled the brewer for 148 years, except from 2002 to 2006, when Patrick T. Stokes was chief executive, and current CEO August A. Busch IV is the fifth generation of the Busch family to run the company. A-H management might not want the deal to go through, but they may be vulnerable. And even more notable, Berkshire Hathaway, run by the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, is one of Anheuser-Busch’s largest shareholders, with a nearly 5 percent stake, according to recent regulatory filings. And Buffett only partakes at the best buffets.

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