InBev one step closer to Anheuser-Busch acquisition

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 13th November 2008

SABMiller is about to lose its title as the ‘world’s biggest brewing company’, with the deal between InBev and Anheuser-Busch now almost complete.

Belgian brewer InBev announced overnight that a majority of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. shareholders have voted to approve the proposed combination of InBev and
Anheuser-Busch during a special shareholder meeting. InBev shareholders approved the combination on September 29.

Upon close of the transaction, America’s largest brewer – Anheuser-Busch – will become a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev. The US$52 billion transaction, first announced on July 14, remains subject to regulatory approvals, but both InBev and Anheuser-Busch expect that they will complete the transaction by the end of the year.

“The proposed merger between Anheuser-Busch and InBev under consideration today was a difficult decision for our board to make,” August A. Busch IV, president and CEO, said during the shareholder meeting. “In the end, the board determined that the InBev proposal is in the best interest of our shareholders. The merger also provides a promising future for our beer brands and for all stakeholders — employees, wholesalers, retailers and our consumers.”

Anheuser-Busch, which has a 48.5% share of the lucrative American beer market, is most famous for their Budweiser brand. Bud Light and its full-strength “brother” Budweiser are the top two selling beers in the US.

“Under the merger, the new company will expand Budweiser into new markets around the world, fulfilling the global ambitions my family has long dreamed about for this great American brand. I’m proud that the Budweiser tradition and our 150-year commitment to delivering the best brewed beer in the world will live on,” Mr Busch continued. “I want to sincerely thank our shareholders for the support they have given me and this great company for so many years.”

The combination of the world’s second and third largest brewers will create the global leader in the beer industry and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. On a pro-forma basis for 2007, the combined company would have generated global volumes of 460 million hectoliters, revenues of US$36.4 billion and EBITDA of $10.7 billion.