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• The Wall Street Journal reports that “Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's U.S. unit plans to restructure its sales and marketing departments to make the brewing giant more efficient, a move that will include unspecified job cuts. Anheuser, the world's biggest brewer by sales, said in an internal memorandum that it will revamp its brand marketing group to have more employees focused on its major beer products. The brewer will add three new regional sales offices—in St. Louis, Denver and Charlotte—to its five existing offices to allow regional managers to spend more time with distributors and retailers. Anheuser also will integrate the sales departments of its company-owned distributors into the brewer's sales division.”

Bloomberg reports that Hershey CEO David J. West says that the company’s strong balance sheet puts it into a position to acquire small and regional candy companies that may become available now because of industry consolidation - specifically the acquisition of Cadbury by Kraft Foods.

“That may change the playing field somewhat,” West tells Bloomberg. “People may look at us differently as a potential partner perhaps or may look at their own businesses differently in a new landscape.”

• Burger King said yesterday that it will attempt the blunt the impact of McDonald’s aggressive coffee strategy by introducing Starbucks-owned Seattle’s Best Coffee in its restaurants. The products will replace its current BK Joe lineup.

• The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Barnes & Noble’s board of directors has rejected a move by investor Ron Burkle to increase his stake in the company to 37 percent from his current 18.7 percent. The board’s move could lead to a proxy fight; Burkle has objected to some of management’s tactics, including a rule that says nobody is allowed to own more than 20 percent of the company except the Riggio family, which owns almost 28 percent of the book retailer. Leonard Riggio serves as chairman of the company.
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