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Stop the Presses!

July 11, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch's board is poised to accept an increased takeover offer from InBev, which boosted its offer by $5 to $70 a share in an effort to seal a friendly deal and create the world's largest brewer, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported Friday.

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An announcement of the $50 billion deal could come as early as this weekend.

InBev has taken out a $45 billion syndicated loan to back its buyout of A-B, Reuters reported Friday, citing banking sources.

The reports of talks come after a month of hostility between America's largest domestic brewer and the Belgian giant, paving the way for the creation of the world's largest beer company with a quarter of the global market.

InBev, brewer of Stella Artois, unveiled its original $46.3 billion, $65-a-share offer in June, a number the brewer of Budweiser dismissed as insultingly low.

InBev then sought to oust the American company's board and replace it with its own slate, while A-B accused InBev of misleading shareholders about its financial backing and blasted it for having operations in Cuba.

Now all of InBev's litigation and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to oust A-B's board appear part of a strategy to coax A-B's board into negotiations, said Ann Gilpin, equity analyst with Morningstar in Chicago.

The new $70-a-share offer is better than what A-B could make on its own, analysts said.


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