Buffet's Endorsement May Seal Bud Deal

Buffet's Endorsement May Seal Bud Deal

Food & Drink

Buffet's Endorsement May Seal Bud Deal

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has told the Belgian newspaper De Standard he supports InBev’s $46 billion takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch, brewer of iconic American brand Budweiser, as well as Bud Light, Michelob and others.

It looks as if the King of Beers may soon be based in the Kingdom of Belgium.

The billionaire investor is A-B’s second-largest stockholder. Most Wall Street analysts predict his endorsement of the Belgian company’s cash offer will result in the merger of the two giant brewers.

Buffet, who’s been called the “Oracle of Omaha,” controls almost 5 percent of Anheuser-Busch stock through his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — worth about $2.3 billion if the deal is completed.

He is regarded by many as THE guru of investing, rising to near cult status among those who track financial markets. His influence on Wall Street is palpable, the result of many years of shrewd stock picking.

InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, made its unsolicited $47.5 billion bid for St. Louis, Missouri-based Anheuser-Busch on June 11. The offer represents an 18 percent premium to Anheuser-Busch’s all-time high. The brewery hasn’t yet responded to the bid, other than to say that it is assessing the offer.

At 77, Buffett is reportedly the world’s richest man, with an estimated wealth in excess of $60 billion. He is chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, which he took over in the 1960s.

St. Louis citizens, quite naturally, are concerned about the potential loss of jobs if the merger takes place, voicing their opinion in a “Hell, no, Bud won’t go” campaign. Virtually all St. Louis and Missouri public officials have gone on record opposing the deal, although there is likely little they can do to prevent it.

Indeed many citizens across the country find it hard to accept the idea of an iconic American brand like Budweiser becoming foreign-owned. But it appears Buffet’s blessing has rendered the deal a fait accompli.

Perhaps the next time you crack open a bottle of Bud, you should enjoy with a plate of Brussels sprouts.

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