BELGIUM/US: US authorities make "second request" to Anheuser-Busch InBev over Grupo Modelo deal
A-B InBev is having to provide extra information to the US authorities
The Belgium-headquartered brewer said the move, called a "second request", is a "normal part" of the review process under the US' Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act of 1976. The group still expects the deal to complete by early-2013, it said in a statement late Friday (17 August).
A-B InBev announced in June that it has agreed to buy the 50% share in Modelo it does not already own for US$20.1bn. Grupo Modelo will also sell its 50% stake in US beer import JV Crown Imports to its partner, Constellation Brands, for US$1.85bn, to avoid A-B InBev facing competition issues.
"The company intends to respond expeditiously to the second request and continues to expect the transaction to close during the first quarter of 2013," A-B InBev said.
However, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus said they regard this timetable as "out of synch with market expectations".
But, they added: "The request may prove to be purely informational, and we believe a DoJ-inspired remedy, if any, would intend to keep ABI from promoting excessive industry price growth."
A-B InBev added that the deal also still requires regulatory approval from Mexico and "other countries".
It would appear that either Anheuser-Busch InBev doesn't have the stomach for a courtroom battle with the US Department of Justice - would anyone? - or it has had 'a bit of a chat' with the department...
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