(Adds Bevmark comments, closing share price)
By Cyntia Barrera Diaz
MEXICO CITY Oct 16 Mexico's Grupo Modelo, maker
of Corona beer, said on Thursday it initiated arbitration against
its U.S. partner Anheuser-Busch, claiming it was not consulted
about Belgian brewer InBev's proposed takeover of Anheuser.
Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc (BUD.N) agreed in July to a $52 billion
takeover by InBev NV INTB.BR, maker of Stella Artois and Beck's,
to create the world's largest brewer.
Modelo GMODELOC.MX, half owned by Anheuser-Busch, said it
was not consulted by its U.S. partner about InBev's offer.
Modelo has not said what it wants. Analysts have said it wants
more money or to block the merger.
"There has always been a stick-in-your-throat Modelo issue. We
have assumed that it will be swallowed, but only with difficulty,"
said Tom Pirko, president of Bevmark LLC, a beverage industry
On Thursday, InBev and Anheuser said via separate releases
that they believed Modelo's claims lacked merit and the
arbitration would have no impact on the completion of the deal.
"We believe we are right in our claim and trust the
arbitrators will agree with us," a Grupo Modelo spokeswoman told
She had earlier explained that Modelo and Anheuser will have
30 days for each to name an arbitrator; the two arbitrators will
then pick a third for the panel that will rule on the case.
She could not say how long the New York-based arbitration
Earlier this week, InBev postponed a 9.8 billion-euro ($13.39
billion) rights issue to complete the takeover of Anheuser, citing
market volatility, but reaffirmed that it will complete the
acquisition of its U.S rival by the end of 2008.
"The meltdown of the banks has played to its (Modelo's)
advantage. There is now considerably more risk for InBev and it
can't take Modelo lightly," Pirko added. "The longer Modelo
resists, the more dangerous it becomes in what is already a
hailstorm environment for InBev."
InBev's takeover of Anheuser is set to become the largest in
the industry and the third-largest foreign takeover of a U.S.
The combined company, which will be called Anheuser-Busch
InBev, will have about $36.4 billion in annual net sales and brew
about one-quarter of the world's beer.
Grupo Modelo shares fell 3.46 percent to close at 39.35
(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by
Maureen Bavdek, Phil Berlowitz)