InBev Courts Anheuser With $43.3Bln Bid

BRUSSELS -- InBev began is courting Anheuser-Busch owners and staff in a $46.3 billion bid to add Budweiser to its own Stella Artois and Beck's beers and create the world's largest brewer.

InBev CEO Carlos Brito said he was aiming for a friendly deal as he sought to reassure managers and staff of the biggest U.S. beer maker and vowed to keep the home of Budweiser, America's "King of Beers," in St Louis.

"Our objective is to reach a friendly agreement with their board. ... We think their board will act in the best interests of shareholders," Brito told a conference call with analysts last week.

He said the cash offer at $65 per Anheuser share was full and fair and would boost InBev earnings in the second full year after a deal, but many analysts said the Belgian brewer may have to pay $70 a share to win over Anheuser shareholders.

Brito said InBev would look at noncore asset sales, and although he was unwilling to specify, analysts said these could include Anheuser's SeaWorld and Busch Gardens entertainments division and its packaging supply business, which broker Lehman Brothers has valued at $3.8 billion.