Anyone mourning the takeover of Anheuser Busch by Belgium's InBev might want to know that the real turning point in that battle occurred more than a decade ago. On a fishing trip. In Mexico. The last real chance to outmaneuver InBev was lost when the US brewer failed to get a controlling stake in Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, writes David Kesmodel in the Wall Street Journal. And chances for that, say industry sources, vanished when former A-B CEO August Busch III decided to take a call instead of landing a humongous marlin.
The trip was intended to cement relations with the Corona makers and foster a deal, but Busch botched the diplomacy, handing off his rod to a startled Modelo exec who happened to be a major shareholder. Barking orders to land the marlin expeditiously, Busch cut short the trip after a day, leaving relations with the Modelo team in tatters. They improved over the years, Kesmodel writes, but not fast enough to stave off the InBev foray.