USA: Anheuser-Busch and CBA agree on a complete takeover

Three months after Anheuser-Busch (A-B) waived an option to buy the remaining 68.8% of Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), the seventh largest craft beer group in the United States, at USD 24.50 per share (, 23.8.2019), both companies agreed now on a complete takeover for USD 16.50 per share in cash. This adds up to approximately USD 221 million excluding about USD 130 million in liabilities that the buyer will also be responsible for.

The fact that A-B was able to buy the 13.4 million shares of CBA it didn’t own at a remarkable discount of nearly USD 100 million highlights the slowdown in growth and a lower valuation of the US craft beer sector since 2016, when A-B agreed the CBA buy-out option. In fact, the savings of A-B are diminished by the USD 20 million which were paid by the leading U.S. brewer in August for not submitting a qualified offer before the deadline. However, since A-B already owned roughly one third of CBA at that time, one third of this payment flew indirectly back to A-B.

The transaction which is expected to close in 2020 is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by a majority of CBA’s shareholders not affiliated with A-B and certain regulatory approvals.

Once approved, CBA and its brands Kona, Redhook, Widmer, Appalachian Mountain, Cisco, Omission, Square Mile Cider, and Wynwood will finally be fully-integrated into the A-B family. The vast majority of CBA’s brands are already distributed through A-B’s network of independent wholesalers per the companies’ existing commercial agreement.

Via its Brewers Collective division, A-B already owns more than a dozen companies in the U.S. including 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Blue Point Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing Company, Four Peaks Brewing Co., Golden Road Brewing, Goose Island Beer Company, Karbach Brewing Co., Platform Beer, Veza Sur Brewing Co., Virtue Cider, and Wicked Weed Brewing which account for more than 2 million barrels of craft beer per year.

 “Anheuser-Busch has a long track record of working with its craft partners to help make the U.S. beer category stronger and more vibrant,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of A-B, in a joint press statement. “Our partnership with CBA goes back many years and we look forward to supporting CBA as they continue to bring great products to beer drinkers across the U.S.”

“Today’s announcement represents an exciting next step in a long and successful partnership with Anheuser-Busch, whose support for the growth of our business and brands traces back over 25 years,” said Andy Thomas, CEO of CBA. “By combining our resources, our talented teammates, and dynamic brands, we will look to nurture the growth of CBA’s existing portfolio as we continue investing in innovation to meet the changing needs of today’s beverage consumers, all while delivering certainty of value to our shareholders.”

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