Monday, July 14, 2008

This Bud's for Belgium

After weeks of saying it would not due so, and its most recent advertising campaign which was decidedly jingoistic, Anheuser-Busch finally caved in early this morning and agreed to a buyout by Interbrew Beverages -- commonly known as InBev -- of Belgium. The price: $52 billion.

The merger brings a number of the biggest brands in the US including Budweiser and Michelob into a family that includies Stella Artois, Becks and Labatts, and possibly Corona as well (depending on how a dispute on the stake Bud has is resolved). It probably won't affect jobs in the United States as InBev doesn't currently have any American plants. But one can probably say goodbye to the Clydesdale horses and other public relations fronts as the boys from Leuven decide it's "fluff" in the name of cost-cutting.

I haven't had much alcohol as of late so as to discourage my father from drinking -- he can't with all the medication he's on for his multiple health issues. But it's megacompanies like this that make me want to flee to the microbrewers and their products -- small businesses which actually make beer, not just alcohol enhanced water.

One of the big winners: Cindy McCain, John's wife, who owns a significant minority stake and whose company distributes Anheuser products. She reports her stock is worth a million dollars as of the end of last year but many think it's way more than that; and the addition of the brands from Europe and South America will raise her income even more, potentially making her the real power behind the throne just like Dick Cheney and his phony blind trust that handles his Halliburton stock.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: