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This Bud is Bound for Brazil/Belgium

Richmond BizSense March 28, 2008 0

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg might be put up for sale if a foreign brewer follows through on plans to buy the Anheuser Busch Company, according to a story in the Financial Times.


InBev, which has operations around the world, would also likely layoff some of the Williamsburg brewery staff if a deal goes through. The company would also slash marketing budgets, which could lead to job losses in Williamsburg and deal another blow to local ad-sensitive media.

“InBev, the Belgian-based brewer plotting to take Anheuser over under a plan code-named Project Aluminum, doesn’t see itself getting into the theme park game. Any takeover of Anheuser would be part-financed by the sale of the entertainment division, according to a source with detailed knowledge of InBev’s plans.

It stands to follow that InBev would have little interest in owning Kingsmill Resort.

According to Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, analysts have ball-parked a possible deal in the neighborhood of $63 a share. The Journal is reporting that InBev has a history of making steep cuts after acquisitions.

When the brewer bought Brahma in the late 1980s, they “did away with company cars, fancy offices, and the executive dining room.”

Several strikes have broken out with union workers at breweries the company owns in Europe and Canada. And some sources tell the Journal that the company occasionally goes over the top to cut costs.

Some of the hazing involved under-performing workers being forced to do push-ups, perform ridiculous dances or answer to insulting nicknames like Forrest Gump.”

The Journal is also reporting today that current Anheuser ownership seems cool to the idea. A deal might be unlikely because of the vastly different corporate cultures.

More reading:

Problems for InBev?, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Will Bud Drinkers Buy into Belgium?, CNBC

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