US: Anheuser-Busch InBev speaks out over 'unfounded swipes'

By | 11 February 2013

A-B InBev has moved to question the claims made in the Washington Post article

A-B InBev has moved to question the claims made in the Washington Post article

Anheuser-Busch InBev has countered a US newspaper article that, it claims, takes “unfounded swipes” at its proposed acquisition of Grupo Modelo.

A Washington Post article last week claimed that the US$20.1bn deal would intensify what it calls a “duopoly” between A-B InBev and MillerCoors in the US. The piece claims that the two companies “take care not to compete too fiercely on price” and raises fears that craft beer brands will be marginalised by the Budweiser brewer's merger with Modelo.

However, in a reponse to the article, A-B InBev's chief legal & corporate affairs officer, Sabine Chalmers, said the deal is about growth outside the US and will give the company "no control over pricing, marketing or distribution of Modelo’s brands in the US”. Chalmers pointed to the firm's plans to sell Modelo's stake in Crown Imports, the US distributor for the Mexican brewer's brands, to Constellation Brands.

“We have built value in our brands and respect true competition in the marketplace, which is exploding,” said Chalmers.

The deal is now the the subject of an anti-trust lawsuit, launched by the Department of Justice late last month

She added that the "assertion that we have a 'tacit agreement' not to compete on price is belied by the facts. He (the author) also mischaracterised our relationships with wholesalers, who are independent business people who understand their markets and look out for their own interests. For example, most have non-AB brands in their portfolio, which they are perfectly free to acquire." 

Chalmers said: "We compete every day in a league with many fierce competitors, and consumers are the ultimate judge." 

Expert analysis

2012 The U.S. Beer Market

This "value set" report combines Beer in the U.S., Imported Beer and Specialty Beer and Microbrewery Markets to create the most exhaustive study of the U.S. beer market available. An $18,000+ value that is priced much lower, it scrutinizes all aspects, covering state and regional markets, distribution channels, brewers and brands, imports, exports, packaging, pricing, advertising, demographics and projections. It also provides in-depth examination of the mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures reshaping the industry plus projections through 2016.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Mergers & acquisitions

Companies: InBev, Modelo, Constellation

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