Budweiser parent, AB Inbev, has all but bought competitor SABMiller for a purchase price of over $100 Billion, amounting to the largest M&A transaction the global beer industry has ever seen.
The proposed merger has raised the ire of governments, market watchdogs and beer industry trade organizations the world over.
Today at 10:00 AM Eastern, the U.S. Senate Judiciary is hearing testimony from AB’s CEO and the heads of two U.S. beer industry trade representatives to contemplate the justification of AB’s attempted takeover.
Webcast (link to appear before scheduled time)
Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, told Senate lawmakers the proposed transaction between his firm and SABMiller — the world’s two largest brewing giants — wouldn’t stifle competition in the U.S. beer market.
“This transaction is really about the rest of the world, not the U.S.”, said Brito, citing post-deal plans to expand in parts of Asia, Africa and parts of South America. The deal would have “no impact” in the U.S., he added.
They contended that Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors would control most wholesale channels to those markets and could make it more difficult for smaller U.S. competitors to gain entry.
Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, a group representing more than 2,800 craft brewers, urged that Anheuser-Busch InBev be required to sell its company-owned beer wholesalers in California, Colorado, New York, Ohio and five other states as a condition for merger approval.
Small brewers worry that otherwise, wholesalers would feel increased pressure “not to sell” beer produced by smaller rivals, Pease said.