Bud goes global

Rumors have been circulating for weeks, and now Anheuser-Busch, which controls more than 48 percent of the American beer market, will no longer be American owned. Brussels, Belgium based InBev SA, the maker of Stella Artois and Beck's, said today it will buy U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion to create the world's largest brewer and the fourth-largest consumer product company, reports Associated Press. The mega-beer company will operate under the name of Anheuser-Busch InBev, and its new owner promises the takeover will help global best selling iconic brand Budweiser expand into emerging markets like China, Russia and Brazil, generating large profits as costs rise and revenue from beer sales in North America and Europe fall flat.InBev said Anheuser's board unanimously accepted a sweetened takeover offer of $70 a share - up from an initial bid of $65 a share that Anheuser rejected as too low in June - just days after both companies initiated legal action that signaled the start of a hostile battle. In a joint statement, the two companies now say the transaction is in the best interests of both, forming a global company with strong roots in the U.S. where it will also draw 40 percent of its revenue. InBev's Carlos Brito, a Brazilian national, will be chief executive of the new company, heading a board that keeps Anheuser chief executive August Busch IV and one other Anheuser board member. Shareholders of both companies must approve the takeover which will also need to be cleared by U.S. and EU antitrust regulators. The deal is not expected to benefit earnings per share until 2010.InBev, renowned for shaving costs since it was formed in a 2004 merger between Belgium's Interbrew and Brazil-based AmBev, has not said if it will shed Anheuser-Busch staff to make savings, but some cutbacks seem likely. The good news is that InBev says it is committed to keeping all of Anheuser’s U.S. breweries open and Anheuser’s St. Louis headquarters will take charge of all North American operations and remain the global home of the flagship Budweiser brand.      

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