“Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (BUD, ABI.BT) agreed to give up key U.S. assets and beer licenses of Grupo Modelo SAB (GPMCY, GMODELO.MX) worth $4.75 billion to fend off U.S. antitrust regulators and push through its $20.1 billion takeover of the Mexican brewer.
AB InBev, the world’s biggest beer maker by revenue, will grant perpetual rights for the popular Corona and Modelo lager brands in the U.S., as well as sell its Piedras Negras bottling factory in Mexico, to U.S.-based Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ, STZB), the No. 1 wine group, for a total of $2.9 billion.
AB InBev will also sell Modelo’s 50% stake in Crown Imports, a U.S. beer importer and distributor, to its joint-venture partner Constellation for $1.85 billion, the companies said.
Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev already owns 50% of Modelo, but at the end of last month the U.S. government filed a lawsuit seeking to block a full takeover. Regulators are concerned the deal would restrict competition and push up prices for beer drinkers, amid growing big-brewer dominance in the mainstream lager market.
“I can’t comment on a specific proposal. However, we would give any proposal serious consideration and at the same time we would continue to prepare for litigation,” said Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C….”