InBev, the world’s top brewer and maker of Stella Artois and Becks beer brands, has submitted an unsolicited bid of $46 billion to buy Anheuser-Busch, America’s leading brewer and maker of “The Great American Lager”: Budweiser.
While reports say that InBev’s offer of $65 per share is extremely competitive (considering that before InBev made its move, A-B’s price per share was at $58), many Americans are opposing the takeover. Matt Blunt, governor of Missouri where A-B is headquartered, is strongly opposed and has reportedly ordered the state’s Department of Economic Development “to explore every option and any opportunity we may have at the state level to help keep A-B where it belongs — in St. Louis, Missouri.”
Two websites are already collecting signatures to oppose the sale: SaveBudweiser.com, which now has 34,000 signatures, and SaveAB.com, now with more than 12,000. They are looking at the InBev takeover as a “foreign invasion” and vow to “fight to protect this American treasure.”
Another American icon, the Chrysler Building, may also end up in foreign hands. On the same day A-B confirmed its receipt of InBev’s bid, msnbc reported that The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, a sovereign wealth fund, is negotiating to buy a 75% stake in the Chrysler for $800 million. (This also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, itself now owned by Australian-born Rupert Murdoch.)
Globalization has come full circle. In the mid-1970s, the term “globalization” achieved prominence when American Express advertised the global reach of its credit card. American capital needed new global markets and the term implied a unidirectional move abroad.
30 years later, the flows of capital are moving in multiple directions as economic power decenters. While the world’s wealthiest individual is still an American (Warren Buffett), Forbes reports the “dawning of a new era”. Two years ago, half of the world’s 20 richest billionaires were from the U.S. In March 2008, only four are.
America is beginning to feel firsthand the tangible and often devastating effects of globalized capitalism and neoliberalism, largely its own creation. These are effects that other nations have been trying to manage for at least the past couple decades since Ronald Reagan rose to power.
We’re going to have to learn to play nice in the global playground. We no longer own it.
And soon, we might have to switch to: Cette Bud est pour vous!