Anheuser-Busch Finally Accepts InBev Offer
The combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev will create the global leader in the beer industry and one of the world's top five consumer products companies. On a pro-forma basis for 2007, the combined company would have generated global volumes of 460 million hectoliters, revenues of $36.4 billion (26.6 billion euros) and EBITDA of $10.7 billion (7.8 billion euros). Anheuser-Busch and InBev together believe that this transaction is in the best interests of both companies' shareholders, consumers, employees, wholesalers, business partners and the communities they serve.
The company will make St. Louis, Missouri, the headquarters for the North American region and the global home of the flagship Budweiser brand. With about 40% of the combined companies' revenues to be generated in the U.S., the company will "draw on the collective expertise of Anheuser-Busch's dedicated and experienced employees and its culture of quality." Given the limited geographical overlap between the two businesses and the efficiency of Anheuser-Busch's brewery footprint in the U.S., all of Anheuser-Busch's U.S. breweries will remain open.
InBev CEO Carlos Brito will be chief executive officer of the combined company. The board of directors of the combined company will be comprised of the existing directors of the InBev board, Anheuser-Busch president and CEO August Busch IV and one other current or former director from the Anheuser-Busch board. In addition, the combined company's management team will draw from key members of both InBev's and Anheuser-Busch's current leadership. Anheuser-Busch will become a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev upon the completion of this transaction.
The expanded company will be geographically diversified, with leading positions in the world's top five markets -- China, U.S., Russia, Brazil and Germany - and balanced exposure to developed and developing markets. A combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev will result in significant growth opportunities from leveraging the companies' combined brand portfolio, including the global flagship Budweiser brand and international market leaders such as Stella Artois and Beck's, maximizing the combination's unparalleled global distribution network and applying best practices across the new organization. Budweiser and Bud Light are the largest-selling beers in the world, and the combined company will have an unmatched portfolio of imports, local premiums and local core brands.
Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev, said, "We are very pleased to announce this historic transaction today, bringing together two great companies that share a rich history of brewing traditions. We are extremely excited about the opportunities that this combination will create for consumers worldwide, as well as our shareholders, employees, business partners and wholesalers. Together, Anheuser-Busch and InBev will be able to accomplish much more than each can on its own. We have been successful business partners for quite some time, and this is the natural next step for us in an increasingly competitive global environment. This combination will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network, with great potential for growth all over the world."
August Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch president and CEO, stated, "Today's announcement brings new opportunities for Anheuser-Busch and its business, brands and employees. This agreement provides additional and certain value for Anheuser-Busch shareholders, while enhancing global market access for Budweiser, one of America's true iconic brands. We will leverage our collective strengths to create a truly diversified, global company to sustain long-term growth and profitability. In the United States and Canada, both InBev and Anheuser-Busch have seen significant benefits from our existing relationship and we look forward to replicating this success in other parts of the world."
Budweiser, together with Stella Artois and Beck's, will become the combined company's leading global brands, leveraging InBev's expansive international footprint. InBev has a history of successfully building brands around the world, which will complement the unparalleled strength of Anheuser-Busch's brand-building in the U.S. The two companies already have a successful U.S. distribution partnership for InBev's European premium import brands including Stella Artois, Beck's and Bass. Anheuser-Busch's world-class sales and distribution system will continue to support the expansion of these brands in the U.S. market.
Anheuser-Busch's partners fit well with InBev's global franchise. Anheuser-Busch has equity investments in two companies with strong brands in two key markets: Mexico's Grupo Modelo, which owns Corona Extra, the number five brand globally; and China's Tsingtao, the leading Chinese premium brewer. In addition, Budweiser is a strong and growing national brand in China, and the two companies' footprints in China are complementary. InBev's China business in southeastern China will be enhanced by Anheuser-Busch's strength in northeastern China.
The transaction creates significant profitability potential both in terms of revenue enhancement and cost savings. The combination will yield cost synergies of at least $1.5 billion annually by 2011 phased in equally over three years. Given the highly complementary footprint of the two businesses, such synergies will largely be driven by sharing best practices, economies of scale and rationalization of overlapping corporate functions. InBev has a strong track record of delivering synergies in past transactions and is confident in its ability to achieve these synergies.
In addition, there are meaningful revenue opportunities through expansion of Budweiser on a global scale: InBev is the number-one brewer in 10 markets where Budweiser has a very limited presence and has a superior footprint in nine markets where Budweiser is already present.
The transaction is expected to be neutral to normalized earnings per-share in 2009 and accretive beginning in 2010, and return on invested capital will exceed weighted average cost of capital during the second year after close.
The transaction is subject to the approval of InBev and Anheuser-Busch shareholders, and other customary regulatory approvals. Shareholders of both companies will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed combination at special shareholder meetings that will be scheduled at a later date. InBev's controlling shareholder has agreed to vote its shares of InBev in favor of the combination. In light of the limited overlap between the InBev and Anheuser-Busch businesses, the combination should not encounter any significant regulatory issues, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.
From the July 21, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash