AB Inbev offers concessions in bid to win EU okay for SABMiller buy
By Foo Yun Chee and Martinne Geller
BRUSSELS/LONDON - Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote) has formally informed European Union antitrust regulators of its plan to sell SABMiller's SAB.L premium European brands to try to secure approval for its $100 billion-plus takeover of the London-based brewer.
The world's top brewer has already struck a deal to sell the assets to Japan's Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T: Quote), a tactic aimed at staving off a possible lengthy investigation of the biggest ever deal in the consumer goods industry.
"This proposal concerns the European premium brand families of Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime and their associated businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, UK and internationally, excluding certain U.S. rights," an AB Inbev spokeswoman said.
The European Commission said it would now decide by May 24 whether to clear the deal, a filing on its website showed without giving further details.
The EU competition enforcer will seek feedback from rivals and other third parties before deciding whether the offer is sufficient to allay regulatory worries.
The SABMiller acquisition would allow AB InBev, maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois, to expand into countries such as Colombia and Peru and crucially, Africa.
AB Inbev is also selling SABMiller's stake in U.S. joint venture MillerCoors to Molson Coors Brewing TAP and SABMiller's stake in its CR Snow venture to China Resources Beer to address competition concerns in other regions.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Susan Thomas and Louise Heavens)
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