The Godzilla movie that is InBev vs. Anheuser-Busch took the fighting to the streets of St. Louis this weekend, beginning with a full page ad that InBev took out in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the city’s largest newspaper. I’ve been unable to find out what the ad looked like exactly, but an AP story described it as InBev trying to convince locals that “the takeover would make for a stronger, more competitive global company,” with plans to expand the Budweiser brand globally (isn’t it already in most foreign markets?) with St. Louis remaining the HQ for North American business. In addition, InBev promised to keep all of A-B’s existing breweries open (for now, one presumes, since their track record in this regard is spotty at best).
Yesterday, InBev renewed its efforts to remove the A-B board of directors and replace them. Today, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper shot back with no less than four separate articles about InBev’s increasingly hostile takeover of hometown A-B. The first, Busch IV vs. Busch IV is all about the proposed board changes and the people InBev seeks to place on A-B’s board, including Adolphus Busch IV, and uncle of August A. Busch IV. The current 13-member board is made up of 10 independents and four local residents (2 of which are former A-B execs). InBev’s proposed new board would consist of 12 independents and only one local resident.
Next up is InBev’s takeover bid could depend on a rarely used gambit, an analysis of what InBev is trying as of Monday, which is instead of suing in Delaware to have the board removed is going directly to A-B shareholders and asking them to vote to remove A-B’s current board of directors. Then there’s an analysis of A-B’s response to the Delaware lawsuit, A-B sues InBev to block move to boot board, which describes A-B’s own counter-suit.
Lastly, there’s a column about Ed Martin and his efforts to keep the A-B takeover from happening. He’s the former Missouri Governor’s chief of staff who set up the SaveAB website. As of today, 66,700 Americans signed his online petition to stop the sale, or 0.02% of the approximately 304,549,209 Americans as of the moment of this writing, according to the U.S. Census Board’s PopClock Projection. That’s not exactly overwhelming support for his mission or indicative that many people share his view that A-B is an intrinsically American brand. Hell, his petition represents less than 19% of just St. Louis’ population. And even more curious, the 66,000 figure is eerily close to half of the number of employees that work for Anheuser-Busch. Factor in that each spouse would also sign the petition and you’ve got close to a zero sum game.
Whew, it’s tiring just keeping up with what’s going on as the two titan beer companies continue to duke it out for world dominance.