By Jessica Hall | Reuters
Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc on Monday raised the political and emotional stakes in its fight against an unwanted $46.3 billion takeover bid by highlighting its foreign suitor’s ties to Cuba.
Belgium-based InBev NV wants to buy Anheuser-Busch to create the world’s largest beer brewer, but its overtures have been rejected repeatedly by the St. Louis-based brewer of Budweiser. InBev on Monday moved ahead with plans to try to replace Anheuser-Busch’s board with its own nominees.
In rejecting InBev’s offer as too low and uncertain, Anheuser-Busch on Monday also called attention to InBev’s operations in Cuba.
InBev, through a subsidiary, has a partnership with the government of Cuba to produce and distribute products in Cuba, Anheuser-Busch said.
“InBev has not commented on how that would impact business with Anheuser-Busch’s customers, nor on its ability to complete an acquisition under U.S. laws that affect acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign companies,” Anheuser-Busch said.
U.S. companies are barred from doing business with Cuba under most circumstances.
“It’s actually a brilliant but desperate move,” said Anthony Sabino, Professor of Law and Business at St. John’s University in New York.
“This won’t win Anheuser-Busch’s case in defending against the deal, but it’s another obstacle to toss out there for InBev to jump over and keep InBev distracted.”