M&A Deals of the Week

With deal news from InBev and Anheuser-Busch, Harley-Davidson, Ladish, and Olympus Flag and Banner

Anheuser-Busch accepts $52 billion InBev takeover offer
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. has approved a $52 billion takeover offer by Leuven, Belgium-based InBev. The new company, to be called Anheuser-Busch InBev, would have had net sales of about $36.4 billion in 2007. It will be the world’s largest beer maker. Anheuser-Busch and Belgian-based InBev together operate 300 brands, including Anheuser’s Budweiser and Bud Light and InBev’s Stella Artois and Beck’s. Both companies’ boards have approved the terms and InBev has arranged financing for the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year. The companies said they expect the deal to generate cost savings of $1.5 billion a year by 2011. The move should be neutral to earnings in 2009 and add to profit in 2010, the companies said.

Harley acquires Italian motorcycle manufacturer
Harley-Davidson, Inc. will acquire MV Agusta Group, an Italian motorcycle manufacturer for about $109 million plus payment of about $70 million of the company’s debt. The transaction is expected to close in several weeks. MV Agusta makes a line of high-performance sport motorcycles and a line of lightweight cycles under the Cagiva brand. It sells cycles through about 500 dealers, primarily in Europe. Last year, the company shipped about 5,800 motorcycles. Due to financial hardship, the company has significantly slowed production this year.

Harley will continue to operate MV Agusta from its Italian headquarters. MV Agusta’s chairman, Claudio Castiglioni, will continue to lead the company and will assist in future product development. The acquisition will help expand Harley’s European presence, said Harley-Davidson, Inc. CEO Jim Ziemer.

"Motorcycles are the heart, soul and passion of Harley-Davidson, Buell and MV Agusta," he said. "Both have great products and close connections with incredibly devoted customers. The MV Agusta and Cagiva brands are well-known and highly regarded in Europe. They are synonymous with beautiful, premium, Italian performance motorcycles."

Ladish acquires Connecticut machining firm
Cudahy-based Ladish Co. Inc. has acquired Aerex Manufacturing Inc., a South Windsor, Conn. precision machining manufacturer that serves the aerospace and commercial airline industries, for about $14 million cash and stock.

"The acquisition of Aerex, with projected 2008 sales of approximately $15 million, represents an excellent addition to our existing value-added, precision-machining capabilities," said Kerry L. Woody, president and CEO of Ladish. "Ladish and Aerex serve mutual customers in the aerospace supply chain and we have had a long-term relationship with Aerex, based on their providing finish machining of titanium forgings produced by Ladish Forging."

Aerex’s founder Armund Ex and its management team will continue to lead the company’s operations. Ladish is a producer of highly engineered technically advanced components for the jet engine, aerospace and general industrial markets. In addition to its headquarters and operations in Cudahy, it has plants in Wisconsin, Connecticut, Oregon and Poland.

Olympus Flag & Banner acquires Holzhauer Graphics
Olympus Flag and Banner, a Milwaukee based printing company, has acquired Holzhauer Graphics in Brown Deer. Holzhauer Graphics is now a division of Olympus Flag & Banner. Holzhauer specialized in large format printing of vehicle graphics, sponsor signage, custom printed tents and tent material, sports venue graphics, wall coverings and more since 1985.

"As we have grown over the years, we have continually evaluated options that would allow us to increase our product offerings, improve customer service, and exceed customer expectations. With that in mind, and after months of research and evaluations, we are excited to announce that Holzhauer Graphics has been acquired by Olympus Flag & Banner," said Ryan Holzhauer, who will continue working with the merged company. All eight Holzhauer employees will be retained.

"The additional capabilities will increase our abilities and allow us to address a wider spectrum of customers. The services we provide to our customers constantly take us to new levels. This purchase will allow us to continue to exceed our customers’ expectations with even greater resources," said Brian Adam, vice president of sales and marketing at Olympus.

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