It's official — Anheuser-Busch InBev takes over SABMiller | St. Louis Public Radio

It's official — Anheuser-Busch InBev takes over SABMiller

Oct 10, 2016

Updated on Monday, Oct. 10, 4:30 p.m., with news that the deal has been finalized - The multi-billion dollar deal to create the world's largest brewer is complete. Anheuser-Busch InBev has wrapped up its takeover of SABMiller.

Changes are not expected at the company's Missouri facilities. AB-InBev has three plants in the state — the St. Louis brewery — which is the North American headquarters for the company, a can plant in Arnold and a packaging materials facility in Bridgeton. AB-InBev officials say the brewer has roughly 4,300 workers in Missouri. Those jobs and plants are expected to be safe — at least for the time being. That's because AB InBev agreed to sell the Miller brands to MolsonCoors so the SABMiller deal could gain regulatory approval. The company says offloading labels like Miller Lite means there won't be any overlap, so significant adjustments to U.S. operations are not necessary.

It is a different story globally. AB-InBev says the more than $100 billion SABMiller deal will cause an overall workforce reduction of 3 percent, which works out to about 5,500 jobs.  

Our earlier story:

Another chapter in the more than 150-year story of beer in St. Louis is close to being written. The roughly $100 billion deal to create the world’s largest brewer has cleared its final substantial hurdle. Shareholders of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller have voted in favor of the merger. There are still some procedural steps, but it is expected to close Oct. 10.

The shareholders approved the merger during meetings Wednesday in London, which is the base of SABMiller, and Brussels, where the headquarters of AB InBev are located. The deal essentially creates a new company that will keep the Anheuser-Busch InBev name.

“We are pleased that our shareholders’ vote brings us one step closer to combining our companies, teams, strong heritage and passion for brewing,” AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito said in a statement from the brewing giant.

The new AB InBev will brew some of the world's best-known beers, including Budweiser, which has strong ties to St. Louis.
Credit File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

St. Louis will be the North American headquarters for the new AB InBev. That means all operations for the U.S. and Canada will be based here. Beyond that, company officials have not revealed specific plans for the St. Louis facility, which dates back to 1852.

Overall, officials with AB InBev say about 3 percent of the combined company’s global workforce will be cut over three years. SABMiller has 70,000 workers in more than 80 countries, while AB InBev employs roughly 150,000 in 80 nations.

Local Anheuser-Busch officials have told St. Louis Public Radio they do not release employee counts for specific facilities, but the brewer has around 3,400 workers throughout Missouri.

When Anheuser-Busch merged with InBev, several jobs in St. Louis were moved to other locations, including New York City.

The buildup to shareholder approval has gone on for months. It included a sweetened offer from AB InBev after some shareholders were concerned about a decline in the overall value of the initial terms following the decision by voters in the Britain to leave the European Union.

The deal also prompted both companies to sell off several brands to gain regulatory approval. The Miller-labeled beers will eventually be under the Molson-Coors umbrella. And in one of the biggest divestitures, China Resources Beer agreed to buy SABMiller’s take in their CR Snow joint venture.

Snow is the world’s top-selling beer by volume.

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter @wayneradio