US: Appeal over Anheuser-SABMiller merger fails

On Wednesday, August 8, a federal appeals court rejected an antitrust challenge by 23 beer drinkers to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s US$107 billion purchase in 2016 of SABMiller, which they claimed would thwart competition and raise prices in the US beer market.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon stated that SABMiller’s agreement with antitrust regulators to divest its US beer business, by selling its stake in the MillerCoors joint venture to Molson Coors Brewing, would prevent increased concentration in the industry.

It also rejected as speculative the argument that the merger violated the Clayton Act because it gave Molson Coors an incentive to adopt Anheuser’s distribution practices, to combat its rival’s newly increased size.

That law requires consumers to properly allege that a merger “creates an appreciable danger or a reasonable probability of anticompetitive effects in the relevant market,” Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown wrote for a three-judge panel. “[The] consumers’ allegations do not belly up to this bar.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s brands include Budweiser and Bud Light, Beck’s, Corona, Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, the craft beers Goose Island and Blue Point, and many others.

Full Content: Yahoo News

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