InBev’s Buyout Of Anheuser-Busch|Leaves Class Action Plaintiffs Hanging

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – InBev’s $52 billion buyout of Anheuser-Busch has left the status of more than a dozen class actions against Anheuser-Busch in doubt. Anheuser-Busch’s approval of InBev’s offer ends a month of a contentious legal back and forth. InBev upped its offer to $70 a share from its original $65 a share offer in May, turning a hostile negotiation into a buyout that will form the world’s largest brewer.

     The company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev; Anheuser-Busch will have two seats on the new company’s board of directors.
     Anheuser-Busch’s refusal to accept InBev’s original offer in May spurred numerous lawsuits in St. Louis and Delaware state courts. Fifteen lawsuits were filed from June 4 to July 2, claiming Anheuser-Busch breached its duty to shareholders by not taking InBev’s offer.
     Anheuser-Busch and InBev also got into the act. InBev sued in Delaware state court on June 24, seeking a ruling to remove the Anheuser-Busch board.
     Anheuser-Busch sued InBev in St. Louis Federal Court on July 7, claiming InBev was making false statements about the benefits of the buyout to entice Anheuser-Busch shareholders to accept the offer.
     David Wales, of Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz in New York, is a lead counsel on one of the lawsuits filed on behalf of Anheuser-Busch’s shareholders in St. Louis Federal Court. In a phone call, he refused to speculate on the future of the numerous shareholder lawsuits against Anheuser-Busch.
     “The defendants just entered an appearance in our suit,” Wales said. “Other than that, I have no comment.”
     Other attorneys involved in lawsuits against Anheuser-Busch had not returned phone calls by late this morning.

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