AB InBev says talking to DOJ, California AG about two planned distributor deals

Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:11pm EDT
 
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WASHINGTON Oct 12 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev said it is talking to both the U.S. Justice Department and the California attorney general's office about any queries they have about its plans to acquire two beer distributors in California, the company confirmed on Monday.

"Anheuser-Busch has been in communication with the Department of Justice and California attorney general's office about the transactions. We are working cooperatively to address any questions they have," an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in an email.

Reuters reported earlier on Monday that the Justice Department is probing allegations that AB InBev is seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying distributors, making it harder for fast-growing craft brewers to get their products on store shelves, according to three people familiar with the matter.

In the past few months, the world's largest brewer has rattled the craft beer world by striking deals for five distributors in three states. Many states require brewers to use distributors to sell their product, and once AB InBev buys a distributor, craft companies say they find that they can't distribute their beer as easily and sales growth stalls.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Martin Howell)