Despite all the economic uncertainty Belgian-Brazilian brewery InBev, led by a Brazilian, announced today, November 18, that it has concluded the purchase of the American company Anheuser-Busch, maker ofÂ Budweiser, in an operation that will total US$ 52 billion and will create the world's largest group or beer makers.
The negotiations were opposed by Americans, who created sites and protest songs against the change of hand of Budweiser, which is seen as an American symbol.
The acquisition follows approval from shareholders of both companies. The combination creates the global leader in beer and one of the world's top five consumer products companies. Under the terms of the merger agreement, all shares of Anheuser-Busch will be acquired for US$ 70 per share in cash, for an aggregate of US$ 52 billion.
InBev has now changed its name to Anheuser-Busch InBev to, according to the new company, reflect the heritage and traditions of Anheuser-Busch. Starting November 20, 2008, the company will trade under the new ticker symbol ABI on the Euronext Brussels stock exchange.
Anheuser-Busch has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev and will retain its current headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis will also become the North American headquarters for the combined company.
The new Anheuser-Busch InBev is geographically diversified, benefiting from a balanced exposure to developed and developing markets.
The company manages a portfolio of over 200 brands that includes global flagship brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's, fast growing multi-country brands like Leffe and Hoegaarden, and strong "local jewels" such as Bud Light, Skol and Brahma (both in Brazil), Quilmes, Michelob, Harbin, Sedrin, Cass, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske, and Jupiler, among others.
Brazilian executive Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said, "We are extremely pleased to announce the closing of this historic transaction. By bringing together these two great businesses, we have created a stronger, more competitive global company with a leading international brand portfolio and distribution network, and great potential for growth all over the world. We look forward to leveraging the operational and cultural strengths of both companies."
"Today also marks an important step towards achieving our shared dream of becoming the best beer company in a better world. Anheuser-Busch and InBev both have rich brewing traditions and a commitment to quality and integrity. We will succeed by celebrating and integrating both companies' strong brands, heritages and values and by incorporating the best practices of both to create opportunities for all of our stakeholders worldwide."
August A. Busch IV, President and CEO of Anheuser-Busch said, "By combining with InBev, we have created a first-class international consumer products company and, without a doubt, the premier global brewer. Together, we will achieve our goals far more effectively than either company could on its own."
InBev has received all regulatory clearances required to be obtained in order to proceed with completion. Prior to completion, InBev reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that permitted the completion of the acquisition provided that certain actions to address competition concerns relating to the combination of InBev USA's sales of Labatt branded beer and Anheuser-Busch's sales of beer in upstate New York are implemented following closing of the deal. The terms of the consent final judgment with the DOJ were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 14, 2008.
Several management and board of director changes became effective today as a result of closing the transaction. Luiz Fernando Edmond, currently Zone President Latin America North and AmBev's Chief Executive Officer, becomes Zone President North America.
Dave Peacock, who most recently served as Vice President of Marketing of Anheuser-Busch Incorporated and Chief Executive Officer of Wholesaler Equity Development Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., becomes President of Anheuser-Busch.
Additionally, João Castro Neves becomes Zone President Latin America North and AmBev's Chief Executive Officer, and the incumbent Zone President for North America, Bernardo Pinto Paiva, has become Zone President Latin America South, replacing Castro Neves.
The Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of the existing directors of the InBev Board and former Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August A. Busch IV.
Effective as of the close of trading yesterday, Anheuser-Busch common stock has ceased trading. Every shareholder of Anheuser-Busch common stock will receive US$ 70 per share in cash. Anheuser-Busch's shareholders holding through a broker or bank should receive information regarding their Anheuser-Busch common shares from the broker or bank.
InBev has appointed BNY Mellon Shareowner Services as paying agent in connection with the acquisition. Financing for the transaction was provided by a group of leading financial institutions. The lending group provided US$ 45 billion in debt financing and US$ 9.8 billion in equity bridge financing.