ST. LOUIS (CN) – InBev’s buyout of Anheuser-Busch so far is no more than an interest-free loan at the expense of Anheuser-Busch shareholders, shareholders say in a derivative lawsuit against the Anheuser-Busch board. Directors are accused of breach of duty by not requiring a closing date for the $60 billion buyout, and of cutting costs to earn bonuses and accelerated stock options from InBev at shareholders’ expense.
Named plaintiff Thomas Hoops says Anheuser-Busch’s Board of Directors breached its duty to shareholders by not requiring a definite closing date for the $60 billion buyout – and therefore no date for InBev to pay shareholders for their Anheuser-Busch stock.
Plaintiffs also claim that the Anheuser-Busch Board has continued with its cost-cutting plan so the directors can earn bonuses and accelerated stock options from InBev while leaving Anheuser-Busch shareholders in limbo.
This is the latest in a string of lawsuits since InBev announced plans to buy Anheuser-Busch in June. Fifteen shareholders’ lawsuits were filed between June 4 and July 2 – before the buyout took place.
InBev also sued Anheuser-Busch, seeking to remove its board, and Anheuser-Busch sued InBev, claiming it was making false statements about its plans for Anheuser-Busch, whose flagship brand is Budweiser beer.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages. They are represented in City Court by Jeffrey Lowe.