Anheuser Busch Inbev SA has cleared another hurdle in their $100 billion SABMiller Plc buyout. On Thursday Australian antitrust regulators approved the companies’ merger in the country.
“The (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) considers that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to result in higher beer prices for consumers,” said Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman, as he explained his willingness to approve the deal.
Australian regulators are more willing to approve the deal than their European counterparts. In Australia Inbev only sells its products through distributors and the firm does not have any breweries in the country which limits their influence. In contrast, both brands own a number of breweries across Europe.
The approval from Australian officials has prevented a host of potential antitrust issues from blocking one of the biggest corporate takeovers in history. Anheuser must now focus on Europe where both it and Miller have their headquarters.
The European Commission is expected to give their ruling on May 24th. Before the ruling, Inbev is looking to sell off a number of Miller’s European breweries to help prevent any antitrust issues arising in May’s decision. SABMiller is currently in the process of selling all of their central and eastern European brands acquired prior to the 2002 SAB – Miller merger. If approved by the EU, the merger could be completed by year’s end. As more information is received from European regulators analysts expect further brand sales to be announced.
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