UK: Comment - Interbrew: yet more competition concerns
The EU antitrust authorities have raised concerns over Interbrew's acquisition of Beck's. Just weeks after the Bass saga was finally resolved, Interbrew's UK strength is causing regulatory problems again.
Interbrew's archrival Scottish & Newcastle has the UK rights to distribute Beck's until 2012, but nonetheless the regulator is concerned about potential monopolistic or collusive behaviour. An investigation could delay the acquisition for months.
Only weeks after the final resolution of the Bass/Whitbread saga, in which Interbrew was forced to sell the Carling brand to reduce the company's share of the overall UK beer market, the Belgian company's acquisitions may once again spark an antitrust investigation.
In August this year, Interbrew agreed to pay £1.2 billion for Brauerai Beck's, as international brewers begin to enter the previously closed German market. Indeed, the Beck's deal represents the first major international purchase in the German beer market.
Interbrew is now in a strong, first-mover position within the German market, with key local brands in the premium lager and specialty beer categories, in addition to Interbrew's vast international portfolio.
However, the EU's competition authorities have raised concern that
Interbrew's ownership of both Stella Artois and Beck's, two of the most popular premium beer brands in the UK, may give the company excessive monopoly power in the UK premium beer market. The concerns come even though Scottish and Newcastle currently holds the distribution rights for Beck's in the UK
Even though S&N will keep the distribution rights until 2012, the regulator has given indication that the potential for price fixing by Interbrew, or duopolistic behaviour by the two leading brewers, is sufficient to spark a four month investigation. Interbrew confirmed that it had offered "limited concessions" to the Brussels regulator but added that it was normal practice for rival brewers to work together under licensing agreements.
The EU has two weeks to decide whether to let the deal pass or launch an investigation. After a year of regulatory uncertainty over Bass, Interbrew's investors may have to hold their breath a little longer.
(c) 2001 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Companies: Anheuser-Busch InBev
The global roll-out of InBev's Brazilian beer, Brahma, adds a third premium brand to the global brewer's international portfolio but some observers have suggested it's an unnecessary step which threat...
SUN Interbrew is looking to relinquish its stake in Pivoindustriya Primorya....
Interbrew UK has poached two marketing managers from rival brewers....
Interbrew is to place a £1m support package behind its Czech brand Staropramen in the UK....
InBev has announced that the deadline for the receipt of acceptances for the recommended offers of US$33.41 for the remaining Class A (non-voting) shares in SUN Interbrew, along with Class A Securitie...
SUN Interbrew is looking to buy into a Siberian brewer, according to local press reports....
Interbrew UK has announced plans to launch a new speciality beer....
InBev has extended the deadline for the receipt of acceptances for the recommended offers of USD33.41 in cash for the remaining shares and Securities that it does not already own in SUN Interbrew (SIL...
- The post-Brexit winners and losers - Analysis
- What Brexit means for drinks industry? - Analysis
- What does Brexit mean for AB InBev's SAB deal?
- Interview - Seedlip founder, Ben Branson
- Customisable drinks - The next consumer trend
- Carlsberg to close UK distribution arm
- Pernod Ricard exec shuffle - Denis O'Flynn leaves
- Major spirits M&A remains out of sight - analyst
- C&C Group will be a Brexit victim - analyst
- Pernod Ricard gives Beefeater packaging revamp
- Adultifying Soft Drinks; Capitalizing on rising adult demand for non-alcoholic beverages
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global non-Scotch whiskies insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Spirits and Wine: Corporate Overview
- Global RTD insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends