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Modelo snag in Anheuser-Busch deal as family firms come under fire

Grupo Modelo has put a snag in InBev's Anheuser-Busch deal, claiming it needs to consent to any takeover agreement. Elsewhere, commenting on the deal, a leading analyst has heralded the death knell of family-owned global enterprises.

The family-owned Mexican brewer, in which Anheuser-Busch has a 50% stake, says that under its agreements with the Budweiser brewer, Grupo Modelo has certain rights regarding the potential transaction between InBev and Anheuser-Busch, including the right to consent.

"Our agreement with Anheuser-Busch was carefully constructed to ensure we have a definitive say in who our partner is. We are confident that our agreement, which is governed by Mexican law, gives us the right to decide whether or not to consent to the potential acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev," the company said in a statement.

The agreement harks back to Anheuser's initial 18% purchase in 1993, which eventually led to a 50.2% non-controlling stake. As Modelo's Corona brand grew internationally, it became evident the company had agreed to a price far below its potential value. Analysts believe the threat of a deal block is Modelo's attempt to make amends for this slip.

Meanwhile, leading industry analyst Bevmark has said the capitulation of Anheuser's board was symptomatic of the eventual demise of the large family-owned global enterprise.

"Family enterprises, even those with a long history, tend to do well only when business is localised," said Bevmark president Tom Pirko. "The family corporation or the family-founded business with a heritage is a phenomenon that is pretty much passing out."

"Professional and institutional investors just absolutely abhor nepotism," he said. "With very rare exceptions, there are always going to be five people better for that CEO position than somebody who has the family name."

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