News 4 Investigates: AB Retiree Benefits -

News 4 Investigates: AB Retiree Benefits

As soon as Anheuser-Busch and InBev announced an agreement on a deal, everyone started asking, "How will the deal impact shareholders? St. Louis? AB employees? and retirees?" According to Glenn MacDonald, the Olin Professor at Washington University's Olin School of Businesses, the positives will outweight the negatives. He says Anheuser-Busch will be a stronger, better company in the long run, even if that means some short term pain. MacDonald told me that he would be shocked if there are as many as 500 layoffs in St. Louis. That's far fewer than the 2400 layoffs announced in June at the Chrysler plants in Fenton. He says you'll a number of the executives in their late 50's who'll be forced out but will probably get a buyout package. He doesn't expect to see many, if any, line workers who will lose their jobs. But there will be jobs and benefits lost. Retirees are concerned that their healthcare benefits could change, with retirees being forced to pay a significantly larger portion of the costs. That's a common practice after a merger or buyout according to a December 2000 article in The Wall Street Journal. But MacDonald points out that cutting retiree benefits will be far from the top priority, when Carlos Brito takes over as c.e.o. of the combined companies. And he points out that it could take a year or two before any changes are made. There will be people who lose their jobs and there's a lot of uncertainty for retirees, some of whom don't have a lot of flexibility with their budgets to absorb a large increase in costs. But Professor MacDonald says, it's not all gloom-and-doom for St. Louis and Anheuser-Busch will be a strong, profitable company for many years to come and that's good for St. Louis.

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