AB InBev, Constellation fall after U.S. sues to block Modelo takeover

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(BUD) proposed acquisition of total ownership and control of Grupo Modelo. The department said that the $20.1B transaction would "substantially lessen competition in the market for beer in the United States as a whole and in 26 metropolitan areas across the United States, resulting in consumers paying more for beer and having fewer new products from which to choose." The department's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to prevent the companies from merging. The department’s complaint also alleges that ABI and Modelo efforts to remedy the anticompetitive aspects of their transaction are inadequate. The complaint states that ABI has agreed to sell Modelo’s existing 50% interest in Crown to its Crown joint venture partner, Constellation (STZ). ABI would also enter into an exclusive agreement to supply Constellation with Modelo beer to import into the United States, although ABI can terminate this supply agreement after 10 years and would retain the Modelo brands and its brewing and bottling facilities, the Justice Department added. Following the lawsuit, shares of AB InBev declined 5% to $89.19 while Constellation shares fell 28% to $28.37. Other beer suppliers declined, including Boston Beer (SAM) and Molson Coors (TAP).

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