Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller on Wednesday received approval for their $107 billion merger from federal antitrust regulators after the companies agreed to unload beer assets and preserve competition from independent craft brewers.
The Department of Justice approval comes with a number of stipulations and is notable after the regulatory authority derailed several recent mega-mergers over antitrust concerns.
The Belgian brewer will make concessions beyond its publicly stated offer to sell SAB's stake in MillerCoors, its U.S. joint venture with Denver-based Molson Coors, as part of the deal. AB InBev will also have to curb its use of incentive programs to limit competition.
Go here to read "How America's two signature beer companies became expats"
Reuters previously reported that the DOJ was investigating AB InBev's practice of financially rewarding beer distributors for selling more of its own beer than its competitors. Craft beer companies had vocally objected the practice, which they argued hurt their ability to sell.
"Independent distributors that sell (AB InBev's) beer will have the freedom to sell and promote the variety of beers that many Americans drink," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sonia Pfaffenroth of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division said.
The world's top two brewers hold such brands as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Miller and Pilsner Urquell.
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