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U.S. OKs InBev’s $52 Billion|Buyout Of Anheuser-Busch

WASHINGTON (CN) - Uncle Sam has reached a settlement with Belgium-based InBev clearing the way for its $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch. Under terms of the agreement, the new beer company, which will be the world's largest, will have to give a third party an exclusive license to sell its Labatt's brand beer in the United States.

U.S. antitrust regulators had complained that the merger would restrict competition, particularly in three New York marker, where the new, merged company would control 45% of the market with No. 2 beer giant MillerCoors controlling another 26% of it.

No other beer company has even 5% of the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse markets.

The proposed buyout, agreed to in July, led to groaning and gnashing of teeth in St. Louis, where Anheuser-Busch is an institution, a major employer, and where it lends its name to the Cardinals' ballpark. The proposed new company would have annual revenue of $36 billion.

Anheuser-Busch already controls 50% of the U.S. beer market. InBev's best-selling brands in this country are Labatt, Stella Artois and Beck's.

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