Farewell to your best Bud

American lawyers are weeping into their beers this week over the fate of iconic US beer, Budweiser.

Coming at the same time as the sale of the Chrysler Building to – shock, horror – Arabs, the US’s dirt cheap assets appear to be in danger of disappearing entirely.

As one New York partner involved in cross-border deals put it, “We’re selling America by the pound”.

The beer deal could see the US waving goodbye to one of its most beloved brands for a mere $46bn, with owner (and Skadden client) Anheuser-Busch being fiercely pursued by Belgium brewer, InBev (represented by Sullivan & Cromwell).

The price tag is steep for a few rounds of drinks, for sure. But what price for a US icon? ($46bn apparently). Anheuser-Busch will be discussing this and how to fetch more for Bud at its board meeting this week.

Brands like Bud don’t get sold every day, which is why Anheuser-Busch wants more. But then InBev has got Stella, which is reassuringly expensive.

Clearly the key is brand power. Proctor & Gamble recognised this when it bought Gillette in 2005 for a whopping $57bn. As one New York IP lawyer put it, “Bud is much more than a beer.”

To Americans, Bud is about baseball, hot dogs and the all-American experience, not the price of its shares. Proud Americans will want to hold on to that with a patriotic, ice-cold grip.

What a contrast to dear old Blighty, where the lawyers would just be chuffed to get their hands on a deal this size. Anyone remember Rover?