* Deal would have been third-biggest M&A of 2012
* News comes as deal volumes, fees down from pre-crisis
By Jessica Toonkel
NEW YORK, Jan 31 Lazard Ltd and Morgan
Stanley risk losing up to $33 million in advisory fees if
the U.S. government is successful in stopping Anheuser-Busch
InBev SA from buying the half of Mexican brewer Grupo
Modelo that it does not already own.
On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit
seeking to stop the $20.1 billion deal, stating it would lessen
competition in the U.S. beer market.
The deal, which was announced in June, would have been the
third biggest M&A transaction in 2012, according to Thomson
If the deal falls through, Lazard - financial adviser to AB
InBev on the transaction - would likely lose $11 million to $15
million in fees, while Modelo's financial adviser Morgan Stanley
could lose $14 million to $18 million, according to estimates
from Freeman & Co LLC.
The potential loss of fees would come at a time when
investment banks are already feeling the pinch from anemic
mergers and acquisitions activity.
Deal volumes are down more than 8 percent globally in 2012
from the previous year, and down 17 percent compared to the
levels of 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data. Deals that
are still taking place are smaller, with average deal size down
24 percent last year compared to 2007.
AB InBev said in a statement that it intends to "vigorously
contest" the U.S. decision in federal court, adding that it was
"inconsistent with the law, the facts and the reality of the