US, beer giant InBev settle dispute over Grupo Modelo buy

WASHINGTON, April 19 Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:47am EDT

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WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department and Anheuser-Busch InBev have agreed on conditions that will allow the beer giant to expand its stake in Mexico's Grupo Modelo, according to court documents filed on Friday.

The department had filed a lawsuit on Jan. 31 aimed at stopping AB InBev, the world's largest brewer with some 200 brands, from buying the 50 percent of Modelo it does not already own for $20.1 billion.

The deal requires AB InBev to sell a brewery in Mexico, Piedras Negras, to make Corona and other Modelo brand beers for the U.S. market. It also requires the purchaser, Constellation Brands, to expand the brewery so that it can make at least 20 million hectoliters of beer by Dec. 31, 2016.

The department's Antitrust Division had argued that the deal was illegal because it would have given AB InBev such a large U.S. market share that it would have the ability to raise prices.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It is United States of America v. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo. The case is No. 13-cv-00127.

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