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Budvar May Sell

Feb 23, 2007 - Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar NP, which has been fighting a long legal battle with Anheuser-Busch, may eventually be put up for sale.

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The process would depend on the outcome of the trademark dispute with Anheuser-Busch, he said.

Until now, various Czech governments have said there were no plans to privatize the brewer, which has been battling with A-B over the exclusive rights to the Budweiser name for nearly a century.

On Tuesday, Trade Minister Martin Riman suggested that Budvar could be sold at the same time as Prague's Ruzyne International airport, the state-run airline CSA and the Czech Post to help the government cover a fiscal budget gap.

Riman put the brewery's value at somewhere between $935 million and $1.4 billion.

It was not immediately clear if the legal battle would be wrapped up anytime soon, but the two rivals recently indicated may be finding common ground.

A-B agreed in January to distribute Budvar's lager Czechvar in the United States, giving the Czech company access to A-B's network of 600 wholesalers. The brand is now sold in 30 states.

Budvar exports its production to 50 countries worldwide, and since 2001 has exported its beer to the U.S. under the name Czechvar.


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