ST. LOUIS (CN) – A federal judge dismissed an antitrust class action challenging InBev’s buyout of Anheuser-Busch. The class claimed the Belgian brewer’s buyout of the corporate parent of St. Louis’ iconic Budweiser beer would reduce competition.
But U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton found no evidence that InBev was entering the U.S. market from scratch.”Here, InBev has no existing breweries or distributorships to produce, promote and distribute its product and enter the U.S. beer market de novo,” Hamilton wrote. “InBev would have to build factories and develop a nationwide distribution system. Instead, InBev entered into a distributorship agreement for its imports, which would hinder its entry into the U.S. market. Also, as discussed above, there is insufficient objective evidence that InBev had a subjective intent to enter the U.S. market de novo. Accordingly, the Court finds that InBev was not an actual potential competitor in the U.S. beer market and grants Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.”