While its St. Louis Cardinals were battling the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League baseball playoffs yesterday, Anheuser-Busch Cos. was battling Wall Street rumors that the company is about to become the target of a takeover bid from Brascan Ltd., a Canadian holding company controlled by members of the wealthy Bronfman family. Busch, the nation's biggest brewer with well-known beers including Budweiser and Michelob, was one of the most heavily traded stocks yesterday, as more than 3 million shares changed hands. The stock closed up 2 at 37.
There was speculation on Wall Street that Brascan was buying Busch stock and preparing to make a $50-a-share takeover bid, but Brascan refused to comment. Meanwhile, August A. Busch III, chairman and president of the company, sent the following message to his beer wholesalers yesterday:
"The company has had no discussions with nor been contacted by anyone regarding an acquisition. Rumors to the effect that August A. Busch Jr., honorary chairman of the board, is interested in disposing of his stock are completely untrue." Busch Jr. owns about 13 percent of the company, which had net sales of $6.5 billion and net income of $391.5 million last year.