“WASHINGTON—The Justice Department filed suit Thursday to block Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s ABI.BT -0.35% $20.1 billion deal to buy Grupo ModeloGMODELO.MX -6.96% SAB, saying U.S. consumers would suffer harm if the makers of Bud Light and Corona Extra merged.
AB InBev made the deal for Grupo Modelo last summer, hoping to augment its position in the fast-growing Mexican market while expanding the reach of Modelo brands globally.
AB InBev already owns a 50% noncontrolling stake in Modelo, whose stable includes Corona Extra, the best-selling imported beer in the U.S., as well as Modelo Especial and Pacifico. It proposed to buy the rest from the Mexican families that control Modelo in a cash deal.
The Justice Department said it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to prevent the companies from merging. The deal “would result in less competition and higher beer prices for American consumers,” said the department’s antitrust chief, Bill Baer. “This lawsuit seeks to prevent ABI from eliminating Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.” ..”Twitter