MEXICO. – Grupo Modelo (maker of Corona Beer and other beer brands), Anheuser-Busch InBev, Constellation Brands and Crown Imports began talks with the U.S. Department of Justice to find a solution to the purchase of this Mexican company.
The Mexican brewing company said today in a statement that they will be seeking to "reach an agreement, to resolve the Justice Department's lawsuit that is looking to block the proposed acquisition by AB of Grupo Modelo which it does not currently own."
In June last year, the Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch agreed to buy 50% of its stake, in a 20.1 billion dollar deal. But at the moment this transaction requires the approval of authorities from both countries where each company operates in.
However, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the merger because this deal would "substantially lessen competition in the U.S. beer market."
Grupo Modelo also said in today's message that "all parties involved including the Justice Department have agreed to jointly request the Court to suspend the legal process until 19 March," but added that "there is no certainty that these ‘negotiations’ will be successful."
In order to get a green light on this deal, AB InBev offered a few days ago to get rid of 50% of its business of beer imports to the U.S., Crown Imports, through sales in the wine market with Constellation Brands.
AB also announced that they would transfer a Modelo brewing plant in Piedras Negras, Coahuilla, which is on the border between Mexico and the United States.
AB InBev and Grupo Modelo reiterated that this new agreement addresses the concerns raised by the Justice Department of the United States.