Anheuser-Busch this week finally accepted a sweetened $52 billion takeover offer by InBev since it was first approached by the Belgian-Brazilian brewer a little over a year ago.
President Obama last year spoke out against the deal along with recent criticism among Missouri politicians, but $70 a share was too good a deal for A-B’s shareholders to pass up. Most analysts say the merger makes good business sense creating super strong distribution channels in the world’s five largest beer consuming countries. The reality is we’re in a global economy and business organizations need to expand internationally for growth.
What does this mean for the best-selling American lager now owned by a foreign company? Good business sense may not make good brand sense. Budweiser has marketed itself essentially everything American for the past 138 years. The Clydesdales. Super Bowl ads. How more American can you get?
InBev has created global beer brands like Beck’s and Stella Artois. It still remains unclear however how Budweiser will fair in Europe and other countries where American sentiment is still low.
Turning Budweiser into a global American brand like a McDonald’s or Coca-Cola can be an uphill challenge given its patriotic heritage. The brand also may suffer at home in the U.S. as devout Bud drinkers feel it’s no longer “the great American lager.” This can be a good opportunity for other top U.S. beer brands to leverage their American roots and capture marketshare. But it’ll all change again until the next international takeover.