Done deal

Well it looks like Anheuser-Busch has some changes coming. The St. Louis brewery – one of the last American beer giants – was acquired, as promised by InBev, for a mere $52 billion.

According to Business Week, there are big changes coming. The CEO of InBev doesn’t do business anything like the Busch family, and I’m sure Anheuser employees aren’t relishing the impending shakedown. Check this list of soon-to-be-history perks for workers:

  • Two free cases of beer per month for every employee
  • Free admission to all Busch theme parks
  • Swanky hotel accommodations, company cars, first-class flights for execs

All of that, going by the boards. Not only will InBev’s Carlos Brito make employees fly coach and stay at Motel 6, he’ll likely take steps to liquidate some of A-B’s extravagant holdings…like, oh, the aforementioned Busch Gardens theme parks, the philanthropic work for communities that Busch has done for decades, and maybe even the precious Clydesdales themselves, who probably lead better, more luxuriant lives than you and I put together.

Can InBev survive the “culture clash?” It remains to be seen. In a way, it’s sad to see one of the few remaining American-held large corporations going the way of (in this case, hostile) takeover from across the pond. But Brito’s money — 87% of it borrowed from banks — talked, and August Busch, forced to listen, sold the family farm. A man’s gotta do…

Commenters on the article predicted Busch laughing all the way to the bank as the Belgian invader comes in and makes a hash of things, eventually unloading the company for pennies on the dollar. Maybe Busch will laugh, but I wonder about the amusement threshold of his 6,000 local employees, and indeed, the city of St. Louis as a whole.

Fink out.

3 thoughts on “Done deal

  1. Son #2

    Sad to see a large slice of Americana being devoured by the European Economic Monster (invest in the Euro!!!). However, Augustus Busch & his brood only controlled about 5% of the stock shares. They did not have much say in whether or not to sell out to the Dutchies(money talks), stock-holders are the ones to blame. InBev is really going to shake things up at the US Breweries. The era of American blue collar workers livin’ large on the company dime is over due to too much overseas competition (same boat as Ford,Chevy,etc), we were the super power at one time, but that title is rapidly changing hands. I agree that the Busch brand will take a big hit on their reputation and sales here in the States, but InBev will make up for it in the global market, and I’m sure that’s their idea. Irony: InBev has breweries in Cuba(which went undisclosed during deal talkings, Busch almost pulled the plug)… Commie Budweiser anyone? Now that would be a bitter beer. -L

  2. Rat Fink Post author

    Bitter indeed, my son. Excellent observations and savvy thinking on your part (I think that’s definitely a maternal trait). But the jury’s still out amongst industry analysts regarding the “bounce-back” ability of InBev. Actually, I like Brito’s approach; his business model has obviously worked for him.

    I know the steering wheel of a corporation is its shareholders, and the CEO is little more than a figurehead. I just still think it’s a shame that yet another American family company (or at least one that started that way over 100 years ago) has again been globalized against its will. But you are right: the US no longer holds the cards in the big-business market. It’s moot now, though. Brito can brew Bud in whatever country he wants.

    Just you watch: Coors is next. :0)


  3. Son #2

    Ha! I wonder when Europe will aquire another American institution. What next, a European Disney World? Oh, wait…


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