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Friday, July 04, 2008

Miller & Coors Merge: Beer Ownership Changing

London-based SABMiller and Denver-based Molson Coors, agreed in October to merge the U.S. and Puerto Rico operations of Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co. and Golden, Colorado-based Coors Brewing Company into MillerCoors in an effort to better compete with dominant domestic brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc, of St. Louis, Missouri. Both SABMiller and Molson Coors sell beer throughout Europe and European regulators already have given their approval. The merger cleared the Justice Department and became effective on July 1, 2008.

Interestingly, although the merger is to more effeectively compete with Anheuser-Busch, that company is struggling and fighting a hostile takeover by InBev NV, which made a $46.35 billion takeover bid on June 11. Anheuser-Bush just took a $300-$400 million charge in the fourth quarter from a planned early retirement program. It is cutting pension and health benefits. They plan to cut 1,000 jobs, raise beer prices and buy back more of its shares. Overall Anheuser-Busch intends to cut $1 billon in costs by 2010. (The Business Journal, 7/5/08, The Wall Street Journal, 7/1/08)
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