Anheuser-Busch Sells Distributorship to Major Brands

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Anheuser-Busch Sells Distributorship to Major Brands

ST. LOUIS – The U.S.-based unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev will sell Western Beverage Co., a company-owned beer distributorship based in Eugene, Ore., to Todd Epsten, chief executive of Major Brands Inc., a Missouri wine and liquor operation that does not currently carry Anheuser-Busch (A-B) products, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Epsten will form a new company called Major Eagle Inc. to buy Western Beverage through the purchase of A-B’s 56 percent stake in the distributorship, as well as the 44 percent stake held by other shareholders, according to the report. Western Beverage distributes an estimated 6 million to 7 million case equivalents per year and reportedly ranks among A-B's top 25 distributorships, the report stated.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Epsten told the paper he was excited about the prospect of being "in the beer business in
an even larger way, and being part of the A-B network."

In a statement, Tony Short, vice president of business and wholesaler development for A-B, stressed the transaction "was under consideration for several months prior to the close of the A-B InBev merger."