Could InBev-Owned Bud Stay All-American?

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Brew Blog

A-B has attacked other brewers’ “foreign ownership.”

Amid reports that Anheuser-Busch is preparing defenses against a pending InBev takeover, Advertising Age notes the irony of A-B potentially being acquired by a Belgium-based brewer.

From the story:

In fact, A-B distributors and agency executives who have worked on Bud and its sibling brands have grave doubts that a brand as overtly red, white and blue as Budweiser — and, by connection, its siblings — would remain credible with consumers under a Belgian owner operated by Brazilians.

“It could be a disaster,” said an executive at one of A-B’s agencies. “It’s all-American above all else — the Clydesdales, all the imagery. It’s an enormous challenge” if the brand becomes foreign-owned. And there’s a lot at stake: In 2007, $8.5 billion of A-B’s $16.7 billion in total global revenue came from sales of Bud-family brands in the U.S.

The situation is made even more ironic by the fact that A-B has in the past been willing to play the patriotism card against competitors. Earlier this decade, after Miller was acquired by South African Breweries and Coors merged with Canada-based Molson, A-B railed against their owners as “foreign interests” with a nativist strategy that would make Lou Dobbs blush.

Over the weekend, London newspapers reported that InBev was close to putting together $50 billion in financing to acquire A-B. A Reuters report today questioned whether InBev could put together that big a financing package.

Meanwhile, A-B reportedly has met with bankers from Goldman Sachs and Citibank to discuss ways to stave off InBev.

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