The Associated Press has an interesting article today that’s been picked up all over the place entitled Politics an Obstacle for InBev’s Anheuser-Busch Bid. The gist of it is that during an election year, patriotism will cause politicians to come down against having ownership of the country’s largest beer company move to foreign shores. To wit:
But politicians and activists are already lining up against the deal, saying it could cost jobs in the United States and send ownership of an iconic American company overseas. With economic concerns at the front of voters’ minds, the opposition could cause a headache for InBev.
Republican Gov. Matt Blunt said Wednesday he opposes the deal, and directed the Missouri Department of Economic Development to see if there was a way to stop it.
“I am strongly opposed to the sale of Anheuser-Busch, and today’s offer to purchase the company is deeply troubling to me,” Blunt said in a statement.
Personally, I haven’t made up my mind yet about the deal and what it will mean for the beer industry, but I have a hard time swallowing the jingoism of these arguments. Where were they when Miller was bought by SAB or when Coors and Molson merged?
|A SaveAB website has even been hastily set up and already has collected over 11,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the deal. The tagline on the website is “It’s not just a St. Louis brand. It’s an American brand.” Hmm, what was A-B’s reaction to the people of Latrobe, Pennsylvania trying to save their own brewery when A-B bought the Rolling Rock brand last year? I recall they were downright arrogant in their response. It’s ironic how these things often come full circle, isn’t it? Perhaps they’ll begin to understand how the people of western Pennsylvania felt now that the beer bottle is in the other case.
The SaveAB website includes some hilarious rhetoric given their cold response to the Latrobe deal. It’s signed “Concerned Americans,” lists a St. Louis address for the organization, and includes the parting shot: “This Bud’s for you and the U.S.A.!” I guess that’s an updated version of the old General Motors saw about “what’s good for GM is good for the country.” Even if the deal does go through, I doubt much will change significantly at the ground level. Bud will likely continue to dominate the market though it’s possible things will change at the upper management level which might eventually signal changes in the company. But there’s still a long way to go before this is finished.
I continue to have very mixed emotions about this deal, but I’m very frustrated by how politicians seem to care only about the largest companies while ignoring the small and regional businesses that fail on a daily basis. Why do we continually help the rich stay rich while ignoring the middle class and poor? I already know the answer to that question, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Is it too early to start drinking today?