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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Budweiser still sole beer advertiser for Super Bowl

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Fans of the Super Bowl can probably expect to see Clydesdales in the game for the next few years.

The owner of Budweiser says it has locked up its position as the only national beer advertiser in the Super Bowl through 2014.

The brewer, which became Anheuser-Busch InBev NV in 2008, has had a presence in the NFL's championship game as the exclusive beer advertiser for 23 years. This year, it will again feature its famous horses and, according to Kantar Media, it will keep its spot as the game's largest ad buyer.

The week of the Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 6, is a busy one for brewers with beer sales rising as much as 20 percent above a typical week in January or February.

That's part of the reason the U.S. subsidiary, Anheuser-Busch Inc., is buying seven 30-second spots this year and securing its presence going forward.

"We wouldn't have done it if the payoff wasn't there," said Anheuser-Busch President Dave Peacock.

This year, AB InBev will tout Belgian lager Stella Artois in its first Super Bowl with a 60-second ad. Flagship brand Budweiser will have one 60-second ad and Bud Light will get three 30-second spots.

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Investors back Facebook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook says it has raised $1 billion from non-U.S. investors through Goldman Sachs.

Combined with a $500 million investment from Goldman, funds Goldman manages and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies in December, the investments value Facebook at $50 billion.

Facebook said Friday the money gives it greater financial flexibility.

The company says that while it had the option to raise up to $1.5 billion through Goldman, it decided to limit it to $1 billion.

As expected, Facebook says it will start filing public financial reports by April 2012. The company expects to have more than 500 shareholders in April of this year. When it does, regulations require it to start reporting its finances to the public within a year.

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Groups urge safe 'fracking'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Activist shareholder groups want energy companies to do a better job of reducing the risks of hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that's unlocked vast stores of previously inaccessible natural gas while raising concerns about environmental contamination.

Investors announced Friday they have filed resolutions with nine oil and gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract gas from shale formations thousands of feet underground. Critics contend that fracking has the potential to pollute groundwater. The industry says it is safe.

The proposals ask drillers to explain how they plan to manage the potential environmental consequences of fracking, and to go "above and beyond" existing regulatory standards. The resolutions also demand a reduction in the volume and toxicity of chemicals used in fracking; improvements in well construction; and increased recycling of toxic wastewater.

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Verizon changes accounting

NEW YORK (AP) -- Following in the footsteps of rival AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. on Friday said it is changing its accounting in a way that effectively moves $20.2 billion worth of future losses into the past.

The New York phone company said it will recognize losses and gains in its plans that fund pensions and other retirement benefits, like health care, in the same year they occur rather than amortizing them over time, as is standard practice.

That allows Verizon to reduce previous years' results by $20.2 billion, an amount that will then not weigh on future results.

AT&T Inc. last week became the first company to announce similar accounting changes. Analysts expect the maneuver will be copied by other companies seeking to put the effect on their pension plans of the 2008 financial crash behind them, and out of future financial statements.

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