Anheuser-Busch, InBev begin friendly talks

July 12, 2008 at 4:38 PM
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ST. LOUIS, July 12 (UPI) -- St. Louis-based brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos. has contacted the Belgian firm InBev to discuss a possible friendly takeover, analysts say.

Wachovia analyst Jonathan Feeney said as an apparent attempt to bolster such a cooperative takeover, InBev has responded by increasing its takeover bid to $70 a share, an increase of $5, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said.

"We view this as a huge step toward a deal," Feeney said in a research note Friday.

Morningstar analyst Ann Gilpin said the friendly talks come after the Belgian brewery stopped an aggressive takeover bid of the U.S. rival.

Gilpin said if InBev had continued with its initial $65 a share bid for Anheuser-Busch, there likely would have been significant fallout.

"If InBev wanted to get it done at $65 (a share), they could do it," Gilpin told the newspaper. "But they would pay the consequences for that, because there would be all kinds of problems."

The Financial Times said as the takeover bid took on a friendlier tone Friday, shares in Anheuser-Busch increased 7.5 percent to a record $65.91.

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