Author: Julie MacIntosh
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
ISBN: 978-0-470-59270-0

How was it possible to take over the last major beer maker in the USA in a deal that led to the largest all-cash acquisition in history at a time when major banks and financial institutions were falling like dominoes?

Award-winning financial journalist Julie MacIntosh was assigned by the Financial Times to cover the takeover of Anheuser-Busch by the Brazilian company InBev in the summer of 2008. Drawing on her dozens of interviews with people close to both companies, MacIntosh fleshes out the intimate details that made the takeover possible. With her Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon, MacIntosh has crafted a story that reads like a work of fiction, as we are privy to the shockingly quick capitulation of an American beer legend.

What is noteworthy about the story is that MacIntosh excels at drawing candid portraits of some of the essential characters in the drama, permitting us to witness the dynamics of the takeover, as well as its intricate facets. All of this is made possible with her choice of interesting blunt quotes and opinions that she was able to garner from her interviews. These were executives who were shell-shocked, once InBev made its initial offer to takeover the company at sixty-five dollars a share. What would it be like when they no longer worked for the most famous employer in St. Louis? On the other hand, what would be the worth of their stock and options? What did August A. Busch III and his son August IV think of the offer and what role did each play in the eventual sell-out? The latter was the CEO at the time of the takeover, while the former was a member of the board of directors, who had considerable clout in swaying executives and board members to this thinking. And what about the lowly employee who did not walk away with great buyouts or stock options and who had toiled for the company for the years?

In the end Anheuser-Busch went for seventy dollars a share and if you are asking why InBev wanted to purchase Anheuser-Busch, perhaps it could be best summed up by MacIntosh when she states that August III brilliantly realized that the key to selling his company's beer was advertising and he was involved in the advertising up to his eyeballs. “He knew the criticality of advertising to the brands. Budweiser was created by the advertising. This is what InBev wanted to buy.-all the stress and sweat and tears through which Anheuser-Busch magically turned its middle-of-the road beers into a patriotic movement.”

This is also is a story that is filled with what ifs, as well as questionable motives as to what and why the takeover transpired? Moreover, as MacIntosh points out, “Anheuser's hubris and naĩveté had led to its fall from grace, and it provided an apt comparison to the broader state of America at the time.”

On a final note, the book leaves the reader with a sense of empathy for many of Anheuser-Busch's employees who were sent packing without stock options and other goodies that several of the more fortunate executives walked away with.

Author's Bio: 

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