MEXICO/US: Grupo Modelo looks to arbitration to settle Anheuser-Busch row

By | 16 October 2008

[Updated 19:20BST] Grupo Modelo has filed a notice of arbitration against Anheuser-Busch in light of A-B's pending takeover by InBev.

The Mexico-based brewer, in which A-B holds a non-controlling 50% stake, confirmed today (16 October) that it has filed the notice, claiming the agreement between itself and A-B prohibits the transfer of A-B's stake to "a competitor in the beer business".

Modelo also claimed that the agreement does not allow A-B to transfer or dispose of its holding "without first giving the controlling shareholders of Grupo Modelo an opportunity to purchase the shares".

A-B said today that it believes there is "no merit to the claims".

It said: "After review of today's arbitration notice, A-B International Holdings continues to believe these claims are entirely without merit and it will vigorously contest such claims.  A-B expects the arbitration will have no impact on the completion of the transaction with InBev."

InBev, meanwhile, has maintained throughout the takeover process that it has been holding talks with Modelo. Last month, a spokesperson said that the talks remained "ongoing". 

The Belgium-based brewer today joined A-B in rejecting Modelo's claim, which it said was "entirely without merit". It said it still expected to complete the A-B acquisition by the end of the year. 

The Mexican company, which owns the top imported beer brand into the US in Corona, has objected to InBev's US$52bn takeover of A-B since it was announced earlier this summer. In June, Modelo's CEO, Carlos Fernandez, quit his position on A-B's board, although no reason for the move was given.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Modelo, Anheuser-Busch, InBev

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