Not long ago, Reuters reported that Anheuser-Busch filed a suit Monday against InBev NV, calling the brewer's takeover attempt an "illegal plan and scheme" to acquire Anheuser "at a bargain price."
It isn't surprising the Budweiser maker has filed a suit. Only last week, when A-B officially rejected InBev's $46 billion offer, the latter filed a suit of its own as well as launched a proxy battle, filing a consent solicitation with regulators seeking to replace Anheuser's board. Anheuser's suit seeks an injunction to stop InBev's attempts to replace its board. Anheuser says it wants first to make sure certain alleged false and misleading statements are fixed.
From the lawsuit (pdf file) it seems that some of the misleading statements Anheuser is complaining about have to do with InBev's financing possibilities and its plans for the company once it is taken over. I don't normally read litigation documents, but the language here seems quite strong with allegations even of rumor mongering. Judge for yourself:
InBev has repeatedly proclaimed it has "fully committed" financing to fund its proposed acquisition of Anheuser-Busch. Given the current state of the credit markets, no group of lenders would unconditionally agree to loan InBev the $40 billion it will need. [...]It's interesting to compare the two recently rejected offers Wall Street so hoped would go though. While on the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) - Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) deal only investors and shareholders have opined -- and taken action -- so far, politicians have deemed it appropriate to speak their mind on the Anheuser-Busch - InBev deal given the Budweiser's brand being so American.
InBev has also made false and misleading statements about its purported plans for operating Anheuser-Busch after the proposed acquisition. [...] (here A-B claims the impossibility of this given InBev's Cuban operations).
InBev's scheme was conducted through the dissemination of false and/or misleading statements. [...]
To achieve its ultimate goal – the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch – InBev crafted a strategy that had as its first step the dissemination of rumors to the financial press and the investing public concerning its interest in Anheuser-Busch [...]
Still, one can't help but note the similarities between the two; most on Wall Street agree both are good deals but both are opposed by the controlling family and/or founders. One has to question at what point reasons other than what's best for the company cloud their judgment. Well, if Icahn and InBev have it their way, both boards, along with their founders, will be ousted and replaced. Then we'll see if Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) can be caught on internet search and if InBev has meant what it said. In the meantime, it's at least interesting.