Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Fear and Loathing in St Louis

Like the attempted sale, thwarted for political reasons, of port management rights in the U.S. to Dubai Ports World, the sale of A-B to InBev has attracted more than its share of hyperbole and scaremongering:
“We were betrayed,” said Mr. Liszewski, who was still not sure he could believe the news that the company had agreed to be sold. “The good Lord was sold out for 30 pieces of silver. We were sold out for $70 a share.”
“They promised us this wouldn’t happen," Liszewski, a Teamster, went on to say. The "they" he referred to was the Busch family, who have not owned a controlling stake in the company for years.

Why so upset? Is it good old fashioned patriotism at work? Not quite... a good chunk can be attributed to self-interested fears that the new bosses will have less patience for the special interest groups (like the Teamsters) who have spent years digging in, and who might lose out in the cost cuts that are sure to come.

Still, according to The New York Times "the idea of the brewery belonging to foreigners seemed unfathomable to many:"
As Opal Henderson, a 78-year-old auto salvage yard owner, put it, “Why can’t those foreigners just stay at home and leave us what we have?”

“It stinks,” Mr. Lucas [a 51 year old auto mechanic] said. “Augie would be rolling in his grave if he knew about this.”
Yea, those damned foreigners, investing in the United States - unlike, say, Adolphus Busch or Eberhard Anheuser (good American names, both)...


Admiral said...

Then the Teamsters should start their own god damn brewery!!

Maureen Ogle said...

The whole article was so typically New-York-Times-let's-make-the-rubes-look-like-idiots, if you know what I mean.

But I do feel a compulsion to track down Mr. Lucas and explain that "Augie" is still very much alive. It's Gus and Gussie who would roll in their graves.

(Although Gussie, aka August Busch, Jr., who died in 1989, actually tried to sell the company to RJ Reynolds in the late 1970s (he was pissed off at son August Busch III for having pushed him out of the president's chair and into retirement....)

Douglas said...

Interesting angle is to what extent does the "Death Tax", and it's comings, goings and meanderings have with the sale by major stockholder families of American businesses.

Hunter said...

The family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers is facing just that problem.