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The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about some of the changes taking place at Anheuser-Busch headquarters in St. Louis since the company was acquired by Belgian brewer InBev:

Crews “demolished the ornate executive suites at Anheuser-Busch Cos. In their place the workers built a sea of desks, where executives and others now work a few feet apart.

“It is just one piece of a sweeping makeover of the iconic American brewer by InBev, the Belgian company that bought Anheuser-Busch last fall. In about six months, InBev has turned a family-led company that spared little expense into one that is focused intently on cost-cutting and profit margins, while rethinking the way it sells beer.

“The new owner has cut jobs, revamped the compensation system and dropped perks that had made Anheuser-Busch workers the envy of others in St. Louis. Managers accustomed to flying first class or on company planes now fly coach. Freebies like tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games are suddenly scarce.

“Suppliers haven't been spared the knife. The combined company, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, has told barley merchants, ad agencies and other vendors that it wants to take up to 120 days to pay bills. The brewer of Budweiser, a company with a rich history of memorable ads, has tossed out some sports deals that were central to marketing at the old Anheuser-Busch.

“The changes have been tough for workers to swallow. Some are grappling with heavier workloads, anxious about job security and frustrated with the emphasis on penny-pinching, say people close to the brewer. Former executives say workers feel less appreciated in a no-frills culture with fewer perks.”

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