Exclusive: EU regulators to conditionally clear AB Inbev, SABMiller deal - sources

Fri May 20, 2016 11:47am EDT
 
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By Foo Yun Chee and Martinne Geller

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR is set to win conditional EU approval for its $100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller SAB.L after agreeing to substantial asset sales, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The Belgium-based maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois is looking to boost its presence in Africa and Latin American countries to offset weaker markets such as the United States, where drinkers are shunning mainstream lagers in favor of craft brews and cocktails.

The takeover, one of the biggest in the corporate world, will give AB InBev a third of the global beer market.

AB InBev, already the biggest brewer in the world, managed to allay EU competition concerns by agreeing to sell SABMiller's Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime beer brands to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd 2502.T, the people said.

Last month, the company also announced plans to sell SABMiller's business in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to appease lingering worries from the European Commission.

The Commission and Ab Inbev declined to comment.

The EU competition enforcer is scheduled to decide on the deal by May 24. Australian and South African authorities have already given the green light.

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 in Brussels and Martine Geller in London; editing by David Clarke)

 
Photo illustration of beer flowing from a bottle of Stella Artois into a glass, seen against a SAB Miller logo, November 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo