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In early June 2008, Belgian-based InBev NV launched an unsolicited $46.4 billion bid to acquire Anheuser-Busch Co., owner of the I32-year-old Budweiser brand. The combination would create the world's largest brewer, with sales of about $36 billion annually. Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev, said that the deal "will create a stronger, more competitive, sustainable global company which will benefit all stakeholders."' The initial response from Anheuser was noncommittal, stating that the company "will pursue the course of action that is in the best interests of Anheuser-Busch's stockholders? On June 26, Anheuser's board formally rejected InBev's original proposal of $65 a share, saying it substantially undervalued the company. The board indicated that it would be open to a higher price. In mid-July, InBev raised its offer to $70 a share, and the Anheuser board voted to accept the deal, recognizing that a better offer was unlikely. The $70 price represented a substantial premium for Anheuser shareholders. InBev management would now have to prove to their shareholders that the premium was justified. 


The Brewing Industry The basic beer brewing process is quite straightforward. Malted barley (malt) is the primary ingredient, although other grains such as unmalted barley, corn, rice, or wheat can also be used. Yeast, hops, and water are the other main ingredients. The most challenging aspects of industrial-scale brewing are maintaining quality control across large volumes, multiple products, and different production sites, and ensuring that costs are closely managed.


Products A common characteristic of global beer markets is the segmentation of products on the basis of quality and price. Premium brands are at the top of the market, with the very top of the market represented by the super-premium segment. Mainstream or core brands are in the middle of the market; value or discount brands at the lower end of the market. For example, in the United States, Michelob would be considered super premium, Budweiser premium, Miller High Life core, and Busch value. Heineken and other imports generally compete against super-premium beers and are priced similarly. Craft beers from small brewers, such as Samuel Adams Boston lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, were an important growth segment.


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