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Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon
By Julie Macintosh

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Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
Hard Cover, 408 pages, 9.00 x 6.50.
Item #1643

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How did InBev, a Belgian company controlled by Brazilians, take over one of America's most beloved brands after barely a whimper of a fight? Timing, and some unexpected help from powerful members of the Busch dynasty, the very family that had run the company for more than a century.

In Dethroning the King, the award-winning financial journalist who led coverage of the takeover for the Financial Times details how the drama that unfolded at Anheuser-Busch in 2008 went largely unreported as the world tumbled into a global economic crisis second only to the Great Depression. Today, as the dust settles, questions are being asked about how the "King of Beers" was so easily captured by a foreign corporation, and whether the company's fall mirrors America's dwindling financial and political dominance.

  • Discusses how the takeover of Anheuser-Busch will be seen as a defining moment in U.S. business history
  • Reveals the critical missteps taken by the Busch family and the Anheuser-Busch board
  • Argues that Anheuser-Busch had a chance to save itself from InBev's clutches, but strong forces behind the scenes forced it to capitulate

From the very heart of America's heartland to the European continent to Brazil, Dethroning the King is the ultimate corporate caper and a fascinating case study that's both wide-reaching and profound.


Cast of Characters.
Author's Note.
Chapter 1: The Game Is Afoot.
Chapter 2: Crazy and Lazy at Loggerheads.
Chapter 3: The Colossus.
Chapter 4: Selling the American Dream.
Chapter 5: The Fourth Abides.
Chapter 6: The Hunter's Frozen Trigger Finger.
Chapter 7: A Babe in the Woods.
Chapter 8: The Old Gobi Desert Trick.
Chapter 9: Mr. Brito Goes to Washington.
Chapter 10: Angry Bedfellows.
Chapter 11: The Board: August, August, and Augusta.
Chapter 12: The Montagues and the Busches.
Chapter 13: A Seller from "Hello".
Chapter 14: Put Up or Shut Up.
Chapter 15: A Long Way from St. Louis.
Chapter 16: A Toast on Both Sides.
Chapter 17: Cash Out or Hunker Down.
About the Author.


Once upon a time, the "King of Beers" ruled the world -- Budweiser controlled 52 percent of the U.S. beer market, and Anheuser-Busch was the world's top brewer. Then, economic hardship fell upon the land of milk and honey (and baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet), and the King became a pawn that easily fell into the hands of foreign interests. Today, the Great American Lager is no more. Anheuser-Busch's fairy tale is over, and as Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon details, the legendary company collapsed in spectacular fashion. How it all played out behind the scenes is the real story‚Äďand it's one people should get used to hearing as foreign companies set their sights on America's most popular brands, taking advantage of a weakened American economy and preying on American corporations that have for far too long viewed themselves as "too big to be taken over."

In the summer of 2008 -- investment bank Bear Stearns had already collapsed; lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were teetering on the verge of insolvency; financial services firm Lehman Brothers would soon declare the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history; and Anheuser-Busch had just received a takeover bid from foreign brewing giant InBev. As Dethroning the King describes, InBev's timing wasn't just lucky; it was perfect.

Anheuser-Busch, which had been ruled for decades by iron-fisted scion August A. Busch III, had just handed the reins to his son, August A. Busch IV -- and young August's leadership was drawing lukewarm reviews from investors and even his own board of directors. Americans all across the country, meanwhile, were too distracted by their imploding personal finances to be concerned about Anheuser-Busch's fate. Many Americans had never even heard of global brewing behemoth InBev, and they didn't realize Budweiser had come under foreign attack until it was too late.

On November 18, 2008, the stock of Anheuser-Busch, known for its "BUD" ticker symbol, stopped trading, and one of America's oldest, most beloved brands lost its American-owned status. In Dethroning the King, Julie MacIntosh -- the U.S. Mergers and Acquisitions Correspondent who led the Financial Times's coverage of the takeover of Anheuser-Busch -- takes you behind the scenes to tell the inside story of the King of Beers' 150-year rise to power and its seven-week fall from grace.

Author Interview - Part One

Author Interview - Part Two

Author Interview - Part Three

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