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ST. LOUIS -- In what industry insiders are calling an about face, Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (A-B) entered into a spirited discussion to sell itself to InBev, the Belgium brewer that has thrown multiple offers at the company including lawsuits in hopes of striking a deal.
While no official statement has been released, people close to both companies said Friday that a "friendly deal" is the works. This development is a far cry from the past six weeks, which had InBev's Chief Executive Carlos Brito writing three consecutive, unanswered letters to the A-B. Recently, Brito escalated InBev's pursuit by seeking legal action to overturn sitting A-B board members.
Despite Chief Marketing Officer Dave Peacock announcement last week that the St. Louis-based brewer would raise prices to 85 percent of its beer volume in September and October as part of a new strategy to increase shareholder profits, people close to the negotiations table said that while talks might still fail, InBev's initial offer of $65 per share is now being considered.
While the original offer stood at $46.3 million, sources close to the company said InBev might go higher. This purported possibility might be in reaction to August A. Busch IV, A-B's chief executive, whose only official response to the offer was stating it was too low.
Among those taking interest in the meeting are A-B shareholders, including one of its largest, Warren Buffet, who has not publicly stated his position. If a deal is reached, it will create the world's largest brewer which would combine products such as Budweiser Stella Artois, Beck's and Bass.