This development is likely bad news for the theme parks. InBev will almost certainly try to sell the parks if the takeover happens. I was hoping the takeover would fail but this article suggests that the deal is done. My guess is that InBev-AB will spin off Busch Entertainment aka Worlds of Discovery into an independent company because I don't think there are any buyers. And then we'll see the quality of these parks go downhill.
The Wall Street Journal Article is below:
InBev Boosts Offer for Anheuser-Busch
By DENNIS BERMAN, DANA CIMILLUCA and DAVID KESMODEL
July 11, 2008 9:53 a.m.
InBev NV boosted its takeover offer for Anheuser-Busch Cos. by $5 a share to $70 in an effort to seal a friendly deal with the iconic U.S. brewer, a person familiar with the matter said.
After weeks of escalating tensions since InBev launched its $46 billion takeover offer for Anheuser a month ago, the two sides are negotiating a friendly deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Anheuser's board is likely to accept the new offer, which amounts to about $50 billion, this weekend, one of the people said, adding that so-called social issues including what the combined company would be called still need to be worked out.
Anheuser and InBev spokespeople couldn't immediately be reached.
Anheuser officially spurned InBev's $65-a-share offer two weeks ago, saying it "substantially undervalues" the company.
News of the new offer comes just days after InBev signalled its willingness to make a hostile takeover offer if necessary. On Monday, the Belgian brewer put forward a slate of directors to replace Anheuser's board. It said that "to date, Anheuser-Busch has been unwilling to engage with in a dialogue." Anheuser subsequently filed suit against InBev, accusing it of making false and misleading statements.
A lukewarm response from Anheuser shareholders to the company's defense strategy may have contributed to its willingness to open negotiations. When Anheuser rejected InBev's offer, it announced a stepped-up cost-cutting program aimed at boosted its share price.
Besides the cost and time a protracted takeover fight would entail, a friendly deal could help InBev keep key Anheuser management in place and avoid alienating the U.S. company's distributors, a person close to the deal said.
The combination would create the world's largest brewer with net sales of about $36 billion annually. The two giants market about 300 brands on six continents, producing in total 10 billion gallons of beer each year. InBev and Anheuser are the second- and third-largest brewers in the world in terms of volume, respectively, after London's SABMiller PLC.