US approves AB Inbev buyout of SABMiller


US antitrust officials approved beer giant AB InBev’s $108 billion takeover of rival SABMiller Wednesday after requiring the divestiture of SABMiller’s entire US business.

Conditions include the already-planned sale of SABMiller’s 58 percent stake in MillerCoors in the US to Molson Coors. AB InBev is also required to divest worldwide Miller beer brand rights, the Justice Department said.

“The remedy we secured will help preserve and promote competition in the multi-billion dollar US beer industry,” said Sonia Pfaffenroth, assistant attorney general in department’s antitrust division.

AB InBev and MillerCoors account for about 70 percent of beer sold in the US and have share above 90 percent in some markets.

US acceptance of the deal follows the European Union antitrust regulator’s approval on condition that AB InBev sells most of SABMiller’s European business.

AB InBev — which makes Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois — agreed in November to buy SABMiller whose brands include Foster’s, Grolsch and Peroni.

The deal is expected to boost world-leader AB InBev’s prospects in developing markets in Africa and China, where a SABMiller joint venture produces Snow — the world’s best selling beer by volume.

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