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Will Anheuser Busch InBev sell Busch Gardens?

The new Belgian owners of Anheuser Busch InBev are reshaping America's biggest brewing empire. But nine months after the deal was done, there's little news on when or whether the theme parks, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Africa, will be sold.

Last month, InBev executives, who identified the parks as a potential source of cash, told investors they still hope to sell "five or six" business units this year to make a $7 billion debt payment due in November that helped bankroll the $52 billion acquisition. But the parks — which experts figure could fetch $3 billion — are not alone on the block. And tight credit markets and a suffering theme park industry make a short list of bidders.

"This is not going to be a fire sale," said Felipe Dutran, the chief financial officer who got breathing room by selling $5 billion in bonds in January.

InBev is knee-deep in wheeling, dealing and cost-cutting:

• It's shopping Oriental Brewery, the No. 2 beermaker in South Korea, for $2 billion.

• AB InBev sold U.S. rights to Labatt's to satisfy antitrust concerns, shopped AB's aluminum recycling business and got $667 million for a stake in Tsingtao Brewing in China.

• The German brewing business including Becks could get $1 billion. Some analysts say InBev's Russian unit could go for $4 billion.

• Cost-cutting pared $1 billion in annual expenses at AB, twice the first-year goal.

Will Anheuser Busch InBev sell Busch Gardens? 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:15pm]
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