US: Anheuser-Busch InBev speaks out over 'unfounded swipes'
A-B InBev has moved to question the claims made in the Washington Post article
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."
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