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US: Anheuser-Busch InBev secures Dep't of Justice clearance for Modelo move

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Anheuser-Busch InBev has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice that will see the brewer secure its full takeover of Grupo Modelo.

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The brewer said today (19 April) that a proposed "final judgement" has been filed with the US court where the DoJ originally launched its anti-trust lawsuit in January. The US$20.1bn acquisition of the half of Modelo that A-B InBev does not yet own, is now expected to complete in June, the Belgium-headquartered brewer said.

The deal will also see Constellation Brands buy out Modelo's share in their Crown Imports US sales and distribution JV. Constellation will take the perpetual rights to Modelo's brands in the US and acquire the Mexican brewer's Compañía Cervecera de Coahuila brewery, in Piedras Negras, Mexico. The concessions were agreed in February as a result of the DoJ's anti-trust concerns.

Once the court agrees for the deal to go head, A-B InBev, Modelo and Constellation said they "intend to move swiftly to complete the pending transactions". The Mexican competition authorities approved the proposed buy-out earlier this month. 

However, the companies may not have overcome their final stumbling block. A-B InBev is still facing a separate lawsuit filed last month by nine individuals seeking to block the move. The complaint claims that the deal would impact consumers through higher prices, “elimination of quality, curtailment of innovation, and destruction of consumer choice”.


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