business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Published reports say that Meijer, Stater Bros., Ukrop and United Supermarkets have all begun offering paperless coupons, using the EZ-PICTM that already is available at chains that include Bi-Lo, Big Y, Food City and Kings. EZ-PICTM is described as a “paperless coupon advertised on retail store shelves and redeemed electronically at check-out—eliminating the hassle of paper coupons.”

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Belgium-based InBev is pressing Anheuser-Busch to accept its $46.35 billion unsolicited bid for the company, which has been rejected as being inadequate, and is now saying that it will push for A-B’s shareholders to be allowed to have “a direct voice in the process.”

According to the Journal, “This latest volley from InBev … places the ball back in Anheuser's court, and industry analysts say Chief Executive August Busch IV has two options: to convince shareholders that the plans it announced last week to cut costs and raise beer prices will boost earnings, or to sit down with InBev and negotiate.”

Anheuser is perceived as being in a weak defensive position, and nobody seems to be betting on Busch’s ability to ability to pull this one out.

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Campbell Soup has acquired Wolfgang Puck’s soup business from Country Gourmet Foods, giving the company what Denise Morrison, president of Campbell’s North American soup division, says is an additional way of expanding into healthy and premium foods. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

KC's View: