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Drew Petzold

Anheuser Busch Accepts Inbev Bid

Published: July 13, 2008 at 10:30 PM

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Anheuser Busch has accepted a bid from Inbev to make them the largest brewer in the world. The new name of the company is going to be Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

This will now raise additional questions regarding the Anheuser Busch theme parks. We will have to wait and see what impact, if any, this merger will have on the future of their theme parks.

You can read more details about the takeover here.

Replies (22)

Eric Malone

Published: July 13, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Hopefully, nothing happens to the theme parks..
Scott Seal

Published: July 14, 2008 at 4:12 AM

Is Inbev an American comapny? AB has prided itself for years on it's all American image..the signage and message around the parks is that they're the only American company left. I wonder if this changes that...
Drew Petzold

Published: July 14, 2008 at 4:35 AM

No, it is not. Inbev is a Belgian company. The headline in the St. Louis newspaper this morning was "Farewell to the King". It seems a fitting title. Inbev is a brewer that has been around since 1266.

I think I am more concerned about what they might do with the theme parks.

Jeff M

Published: July 14, 2008 at 6:12 AM

My local paper in NC also had reported this and in some detail. I found that Wall Street Journal had the best coverage so far. Check it out if interested.

Still no word on theme parks and entertainment reported, and seems like not much will be released until settlement moves forward through the next few months.

My interest is with Inbev's statement on keeping AB corperate operations in St. Louis. No word on theme parks operations, and I believe they were moved to Orlando, FL. from last I heard. Does this lead to any clues toward separation of brewery and entertainment?

Drew Petzold

Published: July 14, 2008 at 6:27 AM

Listening to the radio this morning, if the merger is approved by the shareholders and government regulators, the word is starting to come out that they may split the brewery and theme parks. They were also saying that they may sell the theme parks. This will be something to follow for sure. I think we have more coverage here given the fact that Busch Gardens Europe is nearby.
Ben James

Published: July 14, 2008 at 6:51 AM

In-Bev already stated that they would sell off the parks to finance the merger. And, I can't see that changing, considering that they upped the buy-out bid. The one thing that bugs me, is that A-B wasn't up for sale to begin with. And, I don't agree with an American company just selling themselves. A-B was a world leader in more ways than just beer. I hope that nothing changes here in St. Louis.
Iris Hernandez

Published: July 14, 2008 at 7:16 AM

Thats bull...and i thought today was going to be a good day. This is infuriating to me. Anheuser Busch has been putting out new TV ads stating how much an American company owned it is and how proud they were of it and they turned around and did this? I'm so mad i'm practically speechless. I expect the parks to take a turn for the worst, but i pray that i'm wrong.
Raul Araoz

Published: July 14, 2008 at 7:31 AM

If Inbev sells the parks, I hope Universal can find the cash to buy them. Except for the Virginia park, Disney won't be interested. Universal and Busch already have a sort of union with the Flexticket. If Universal owned the Busch parks, it would be some serious competition for Disney. Plus, Universal is the only company I trust with keeping the quality of the Busch parks.
Justin Trinh

Published: July 14, 2008 at 7:47 AM

I am sad to see this happen as well but I can't see how anyone can put the blame on Anheuser Busch. If anyone has taken any type of Business Finance course, one of the first thing you learn is that the board of directors of any company that is publicly traded job is to "increase shareholders wealth."

As sad as I am to see Anheuser Busch not being American owned anymore, they did what they were suppose to do, increase shareholders wealth. With a $70 per share offer in cash to all shareholders, as much as I want, I can't see the shareholders rejecting the offer.

Oh and not much information about the theme parks but a article did mention this:

"There was no detail in the InBev release about the theme park operations which include Tampa's Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, and Sea World in Orlando."

And went on to say this:

"To finance the deal, some analysts have speculated A-B's theme parks, including Busch Gardens in Tampa, could be on the sale block. Kris Kippers, an analyst at Belgian brokerage Petercam SA, said InBev could receive about $2.9 billion if it sold Busch Entertainment Corp., the theme park division."

Michael Barkdoll

Published: July 14, 2008 at 10:37 AM

It's really sad to see this happen. I so worried about the parks and whoever owns keeping with the great quality that I have always loved. This really blows
Brian Emery

Published: July 14, 2008 at 10:52 AM

This blows, period….
There is absolutely no reason for this. AB was making plenty of money and was “All American”. Friend of the US military and one of our best Icons…
Just like everything else in the US – Sold to a foreign company…. The Chrysler building was just sold to Dubai. What’s next American Airlines being sold to Canada?

I just hope for the best when it comes to the Parks…

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: July 14, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Actually, U.S.-based airlines cannot be foreign-owned, by federal law. That's why Richard Branson couldn't own Virgin America, when that airline launched. And non-U.S. airlines routes to/from the United States are highly restricted.

Personally, if the BEC parks aren't going to be run by the A-B board anymore -- and with InBev now in charge, they won't -- what's the point of keeping them in the fold? The key is keeping the current management team in place, along with the existing revenue expectations.

Ideally, they could move into another company that would be better prepared to protect those goals than InBev would. The question is, does that option exist? If not, I hope that InBev would be in financial position to give holding on to the parks a try.

Drew Petzold

Published: July 14, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Just like everyone else, I don't like the fact this is happening either. However, at the same time, I am not surprised it is happening either. Inbev has been trying for a while to merge with AB. Given the options they had, it was probably a good time to do it. Had they not taken the offer, Inbev would have gone the route of making it a hostile takeover, where they would buy up enough stock to be able to gain ownership. The Busch family only had about 20-25% of the stock in the company. It would not be enough for them to be able to retain it, unless they would be able to pay more to puchase up the additional stocks. The other dilemma they had too is that their second largest shareholder, Warren Buffet, also signaled that the merger would be a good idea, which I disagree with.

I sure hope that the theme parks don't go downhill if they are sold. BEC has done an excellent job over the years with all of their parks. I'd hate to see it go into the wrong hands.

LJ Warner

Published: July 14, 2008 at 11:24 AM

In Bev wants to be the largest Beverage company in the world,period. So by taking over #3 company they solidify their position at the top for a long time even if they lose money on the deal. That's why they are willing to bid $70 a share and as it was pointed out the board of directors of any publicly traded company is there to make money for the share holders. I'd vote no on approving the sale but will take a lot of like minded Americans to keep A-B an American company. Looks like I'm going to have to find another beer to make beer-can chicken (Bud has been the best one to use IMHO.
W McCarthy

Published: July 14, 2008 at 11:25 AM

The Chrysler building was bought by a sovereign fund in Abu Dhabi, not Dubai. It was a 90% stake but they do not have controlling interest. Furthermore they do not own the land underneath the building, which is what really matters.
AB being bought out is capitalism, pure and simple. This is what happens when your country's currency is barely worth the paper it's printed on. If you don't like AB being bought out, then vote for the Socialist Party or some other anti-capitalist party.
An upside to AB being bought out is that their main brand beers may actually taste better with some European input.
Rumor is that Merlin Entertainment (Legoland, Toussaud's) may be interested in buying the parks. That may be a good thing.
TH Creative
Writer

Published: July 14, 2008 at 2:31 PM

When I heard the news I thought about Disney. How the company has only been owned by a single corporate entity through its entire history. It's one of those qualitative aspects that makes it stand head and shoulders above other park operators.

I remember when Comcast made its RIDICULOUS attempt to take-over Disney. At a meeting with business media at the Disney's shareholders a Disney shareholders conference, CEO Michael Eisner was asked about the take-over attempt. His response (paraphrased) "Mergers and aquisitions? Oh yeah. We're thinking of taking over Comcast."

Gareth H

Published: July 14, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Big BillBoard poster on the corner of SandLake and International Drive here in Orlando, noticed it today.

BUDWEISER, the American Beer..


...LMAO, that will come down soon.....


..., Commercial on TV the other day, less than a week ago, with August Busch the 85th (Hee hee), American Company, proud Family Run, guess I won't see that one again.


Bad news as I just started to like Bud and its beers (Thanks to SeaWorld), but you never know, might surprise us. Who knows, if they sell off maybe Universal might put an offer in, Busch isn't running at a loss so could be a good Investment for Uni to compete with Disney.

Their portfolio would then be amazing, and even if they just owned Busch Gardens Africa, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, it would be a major boost in the fight of control over O-Town.

Disney has 4 parks, 2 water parks and DTD, Universal could realistically have 2 waterparks and 4 theme parks, plsu Discovery Cove.

Wouldn't be the worst option in the world, as long as they maintain the current Management and don't try and change too much.

Can't see the hospitality buildings lasting in any Seaworld or Busch parks whichever route or owner shows Interest. I highly doubt InBev will leave that as an option!

Fingers crossed for a bright future for all AB parks!

Derek Potter

Published: July 14, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Not good news for the parks. I seriously doubt that Inbev will keep them. It's foolish to cut something that is a profitable business, however corporations can be quite foolish, and this one will probably be getting out the chainsaw to cut costs.

There is one thing that may keep the AB parks as they are...

Who's gonna buy them?

Disney? You're dreaming people

Universal? You're still dreaming

Cedar Fair? Probably would consider if they weren't saddled with the Paramount Debt, but not really in a financial position to buy. They won't bite...unless they want to be the next Six Flags.

Six Flags?- HA!

Aside from another corporation getting into the business, which in today's economy is unlikely, that leaves one.

Anybody here ever heard of PARC?

They are the company that scooped up most of the smaller Six Flags parks that were sold a couple years back, as well as some smaller amusement ventures around the country (water parks...etc). What I don't know is how much financial clout they have. While I don't think this would be feasible for them moneywise, an acquisition like this is enough to send them straight to major player status.

Still, given the position of the companies capable of the money, the AB parks may remain in the hands of the company by default, and I hope that InBev knows that keeping a profitable, highly successful division of the company is a good thing.


As for the merger itself, I personally don't like any of their beers, and I think that the theme parks are a far better product than their brew. However, I have to say that I'm quite disappointed that another red blooded American company with A-B's history has sold itself out to the highest international bidder. I suspected that all of the Americana propaganda put out by A-B was partial BS all along...believed in a little but mostly put together to sell beer to the simple patriotic man. I guess I was wrong...it was total BS. A-B's "American Pride" has been bought and paid for with the almighty dollar.

W McCarthy

Published: July 14, 2008 at 6:13 PM

As I stated upthread the most likely buyer is Merlin, which is the second biggest theme park operator in the world with only one park in the US (Legoland). If they have the capital, then I see them as likely to buy the parks.
No way Inbev is going to keep the parks; they'll need to sell them to pay for this big acquisition. The fact that the parks are profitable is even more of a reason to sell them as they'll fetch a higher price. Profitable businesses sell for more money than unprofitable ones.
If anyone ever believes patriotic marketing like AB did, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them. It's capitalism folks, it's always all about the money.
Jason Jackson

Published: July 14, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Well think about this, the Dubai company, Nakeel could possbily purchase the entertainment division. They have so much invested in them right now...they are paying big bucks to AB to license the names and use management to run the new parks in Dubai. Anyone hasn't seen this coming...they moved BEC corporate to Orlando, they rebranded from Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks to Worlds of Discovery...hmmmmm Makes you wonder.
David Kirby

Published: July 14, 2008 at 9:21 PM

It's really sad that this happened but you can't blame Busch. When AB rejected the original offer of $65 a share, they had plans to drastically cut expenses in order to appease the shareholders. With a new bid of $70 per share, there was no way they would be able to cut expenses or boost profits enough to counteract giving up that high offer price. It truly is sad especially since the company is still family run. The current CEO was the great-great-grandson of the founder.
Larry Zimmerman

Published: July 16, 2008 at 6:34 PM

It's just another buck to be made in the stock market trade... When customers are seen as "revenue units," and loyal employees relegated to "headcount," then values like patriotism and national pride just don't matter.

Shareholder value is maximized by selling the company out from under the stockholders. The dollar, near all-time lows, makes $70 a share worth 43.75 Euros. Blame someone...

Inbev will take AB apart, barrel by barrel, just to remove the competition. So-called "Promises" to keep breweries open are just like the "forward looking statements" disclaimer says -- pure pablum to placate stockholder consciences, and subject to being ignored at Inbev's convenience.

I can hear Belgians snickering all the way to the bank...

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