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Czechs closer to selling Budvar brewery stake.

According to press reports, the Czech government is on the verge of selling off a portion of its Budvar Brewery. And none too soon for Anheuser-Busch International, which has awaited the move for some time.

Anheuser-Busch would dearly love a piece of Budvar, primarily to help resolve a long-running trademark conflict between A-B's and Budvar's Budweiser brands.

Analysts say that A-B will likely be the high bidder in any sale, and the American brewer is expected to win the stake, if one is offered.

Unfortunately, the road to acquisition may not run smooth. Several German and English brewers are also said to have an interest in a Budvar stake.

There is also the question as to whether the Czechs can bring themselves to sell at all. A-B has engaged in an awkward mating dance in recent years, as Budvar and the Czech government have issued a steady stream of contradictory statements.

In a Wall Street Journal report, for example, Budvar managers were still said to be "expressing ambivalence about selling a stake to any foreigner."
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Oct 4, 1993
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