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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Anheuser-Busch Said to be Negotiating for Budvar Buy

According to the German magazine Euro am Sonntag, Anheuser-Busch Companies is in the midst of negotiations with the Czech government to buy Budejovicky Budvar. The two companies have had a long running series of legal battles in courtrooms around the globe over the Budweiser brand name. The magazine cited sources in the Czech Parliament.

Czech Trade Minister Martin Riman has estimated the brewery could fetch $1.5 billion. Some officials and the Czech public have been critical of a potential sale of the brewery to foreign companies, especially Anheuser-Busch fearing that the Budvar brand could be eliminated.

Besides Anheuser-Busch, several other companies have been rumored to be in the running for the brewery. Belgian mega brewer InBev, along with British firms Fuller, Smith and Turner and Young & Co., have all been reportedly interested in buying Budvar.


Stonch said...

I'm assuming your source for the speculation that Fullers and Young's are interested in buying Budvar is the Forbes article. My reading of the relevant paragraph is that those two are only mentioned to illustrate that the price quoted for Budvar may not be realistic. I think we may have a bit of Chinese whispers going on here...

Rick Lyke said...

I agree that in this, and most negotiations, names fly around for the purpose of increasing the ultimate bid. The Czech government is in a hard spot. They'd love to sell the brewery. The most motivated party is A-B for obvious reasons, but the Czech public will be less accepting of an A-B purchase. Would the Czech government accept a lower bid from another company? Is the price tag that the Czech minister floated realistic? Is A-B really negotiating for the brewery? We'll all know in the next few weeks.

Stonch said...

Yes perhaps a white knight well emerge - but it's worth making clear that there has not been any speculation as to whether Fullers or Wells & Youngs might be in the frame - the Forbes article only mentions InBev in that context.

It wouldn't fit with their business plans anyway. Both companies seem more likely see the same "neo-national" status Greene King (and to a lesser extent W&D/Marstons) have achieved. As such the acquisition of other regional cask ale brewers in Britain is more likely.