The Busch family, descendents of the folks who founded Anheuser-Busch, curently own only about 4% of the company’s stock. But according to the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, the family is desperate to find a way to hang on to the company–and the family identity–by preventing the company’s sale to Belgian beer maker InBev.
Anheuser-Busch has been badly managed in recent years, and InBev has offered a 20% premium to the company’s record-high stock price, which it last saw six years ago. If the company plays its cards right, it will likely be able to extract a few more dollars out of InBev. But that’s not what Augustus Adolphus Busch IV, the company’s CEO, is angling for.
They call him The Fourth.
As a child, he was a rambunctious little kid. As a teenager, he was a rebellious troublemaker, playing pranks and breaking his curfew. By college, his transgressions went well beyond youthful indiscretions: A woman he was with, a local waitress, was killed when his Corvette crashed at 6:30 in the morning. He fled the scene and was found with blood on him eight hours later. His close-knit family rallied around him, sent in high-powered lawyers, and the police dropped the investigation after evidence was misplaced.
Two years later, he was involved in a high-speed car chase with the police and was accused of trying to run over an officer with his Mercedes. Again, the family’s lawyers swooped in and he was acquitted.
When he graduated, he went to work for the family business. Now he is the chief executive…
The Fourth is August Anheuser Busch IV, a descendant of Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser-Busch. He just turned 44 on Sunday. He’s been running the company for about 19 months. Given his party-boy history — and, for that matter, given that he may have inherited his position more than earned it — it is perhaps not surprising that Anheuser-Busch is struggling, just as it has been for nearly a decade. Its more aggressive rivals, meanwhile, are growing at a rapid clip and becoming global.
Curious about how hard The Fourth is working to keep his job? Read on…
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