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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TAKE-OVER WAS INEVITABLE
Julie Macintosh's account of the take-over of the iconic US brewer, Anheuser-Busch, (Budweiser et al) is a competent work tracking the growth of the company under a succession of Busch Family 'monocrats' whose right to direct and dominate the companies fortunes seems to have been signified by being given the first name of Adolphus or August and being known as The First,...
Published on 22 Feb. 2012 by DOPPLEGANGER

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3.0 out of 5 stars Flat Beer
This account of the takeover of Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Budweiser, is better written than most business books but it is lacking in depth and as flat as a can of Bud that has been left untouched for too long.

The book has a number of failings, the most important of which is the author's lack of official sources. There is not a single quote or comment on the...
Published on 15 July 2011 by John Fitzpatrick


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TAKE-OVER WAS INEVITABLE, 22 Feb. 2012
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DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
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Julie Macintosh's account of the take-over of the iconic US brewer, Anheuser-Busch, (Budweiser et al) is a competent work tracking the growth of the company under a succession of Busch Family 'monocrats' whose right to direct and dominate the companies fortunes seems to have been signified by being given the first name of Adolphus or August and being known as The First, Second, Third or Fourth in the manner of European Royalty.

It is mostly very readable but extends slightly beyond the material available or collected by the author, and tends to become a little repetitious particularly on the tedious, verging on megalomanic management style of The Third which not only had a dispiriting effect on staff but was fundamental in leaving the once mighty brewers at the mercy of a predatory take-over assault. Perhaps a little shorter or the research being more inclusive with the input of facts and views from the many professional parties involved and earning mega-bucks from being aboard gravy train would have added to this account.

This all being said, I am glad to have read this book, and now have a greater insight into the North American and beyond beer industry.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Flat Beer, 15 July 2011
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John Fitzpatrick (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This account of the takeover of Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Budweiser, is better written than most business books but it is lacking in depth and as flat as a can of Bud that has been left untouched for too long.

The book has a number of failings, the most important of which is the author's lack of official sources. There is not a single quote or comment on the record from any of a leading players on either side and we readers are reduced to hearsay or direct quotes from minor participants.

The lack of information about the winning group, InBev, is unacceptable in a work of this nature. InBev was formed in 2004 through a merger of Interbrew of Belgium and Ambev of Brazil and was a fledgling on the global beer scene yet it managed to take over a company that had been established in 1852 and was virtually an American icon.

The author makes no attempt to describe how this happened or how the Brazilian side, led by Jorge Paulo Lemann, managed to impose its ruthlessly successful managerial style on the group.

I find this lack of information hard to take as Lemann and his partners are all well known in business circles not just in Brazil but in financial centers in the US and Europe.

The author is a former reporter with the Financial Times which had a correspondent in São Paulo and another in Brussels who could surely have provided useful information yet in her Acknowledgements she thanks the FT correspondent in New York and makes no mention of the others. Did she even try and talk to them?

There is no shortage of material around on how Lemann operated as an investment banker, using tactics that won him many foes (including the government of Argentina that once blamed him for acting illegally in foreign exchange operations) as well as admirers.

At one point, we learn that InBev had taken a legal move that would have replaced the Board of Directors of Anheuscher-Busch and put forward its own board with well-known corporate names who had agreed to join it. How InBev could have managed this feat is worth a chapter of its own but it is covered superficially.

In conclusion, I would also criticize the publisher's attempts to build this takeover as a clash of cultures and portray Budweiser as an all-American institution about to be seized by foreign interlopers. This is simply not borne out by the facts.

The shareholders, including the Busch family, seemed to have been prepared to accept a takeover providing the price was right. The boardroom "battle" was pretty tame compared with the struggles seen in the classic "Barbarians at the Gate" takeover of RJR Nabisco published back in 1990.

As for the American people, they seemed indifferent, despite some understandable opposition in St Louis where the company was based and where many people feared losing their jobs.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 13 Feb. 2015
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should spend more time on after the takeover
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