Feds Clear AB InBev |Takeover of SABMiller

     (CN) — Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer maker, announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the Justice Department that clears the way for U.S. approval of its acquisition of SABMiller.
     The merger with the maker of Miller Genuine Draft, a deal valued at about $107 billion, had raised concerns that a single company would control too much of the beer market.
     In fact, the Justice Department earlier today filed of motion to prevent the merger.
     To gain the approval of regulators, AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, will sell SABMiller’s entire U.S. business to Molson Coors as part of the agreement.
     That means Budweiser would continue to compete with Millerbeer in the United States.
     
     AB InBev must also seek DOJ review of any future acquisitions of beer distributors or craft beer brands. Another condition prevents AB InBev from running incentive programs that encourage independent distributors to not sell imports or craft beers made by competitors.
     “The remedy we secured will help preserve and promote competition in the multi-billion dollar U.S. beer industry,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sonia Pfaffenroth of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a statement.
     
     The combined company would have about 31 percent of the global beer market, according to Beer Business Daily.
     AB InBev also owns Corona, Stella Artois and Beck’s. Earlier this year, it acquired craft beer maker Breckenridge Brewery, following its purchase of craft brewers Goose Island and 10 Barrel Brewing Co., as the popularity of craft beers has grown.
     U.S. lawmakers and independent breweries had expressed concern that a combined AB InBev and SABMiller would have too much influence over the distribution system, with the ability to squeeze out smaller rivals.
     AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito has said the divestment would ensure that the company’s market share in the U.S. would not change after the deal.
     The company expects the deal to close later this year.
     
     Photo caption:
     FILE – In this Thursday, March 5, 2015, file photo, Budweiser beer cans are seen at a concession stand at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer maker, announced Wednesday, July 20, 2016, that it has reached an agreement with the Justice Department clearing the way for U.S. approval of its acquisition of SABMiller. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

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