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Antitrust lawyer planning suit over InBev’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch

September 10, 2008
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A San Francisco high-profile antitrust lawyer, Joseph Alioto Jr., said he plans to file a lawsuit this week in federal court in St. Louis aimed at blocking InBevs $52 billion buyout of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., according to bizjournals.com. Alioto is alleging the Belgian company’s planned acquisition of the St. Louis brewing icon and maker of Budweiser beer will harm consumers by leading to higher prices for beer and diminishing competition. Alioto, son of former San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, also claims facilities will be shut down and community corporate sponsorships will be eliminated, despite pledges to the contrary from InBev. The company, according to regulatory documents Anheuser-Busch has filed, has made a “good faith commitment” to not close any of the company’s 12 domestic breweries as long as there are “no new or increased federal or state excise taxes or other unforeseen extraordinary event.” The company runs a 665-worker brewery in north Columbus. The facility, which opened in 1968, has an annual payroll of about $56.5 million, according to information from the company. InBev also has said the acquisition won’t affect charitable causes. The deal Alioto plans to take on is scheduled for a Sept. 29 vote by shareholders of InBev, the brewer of Stella Artois, Beck’s and Bass beers.Anheuser-Busch holds a nearly 49 percent share of U.S. beer sales.

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