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AB Inbev and other brewers seek more time in talks

The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice and several beer makers have asked a federal court for more time to discuss a possible resolution to a dispute over a $20.1 billion acquisition.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, has been trying since June take over the half of Corona maker Grupo Modelo that it doesn't already own. The deal, however, was challenged by the Justice Department over concerns it would make the Brussels-based company too dominant in the U.S.

In response, AB InBev announced a side-deal in February to sell the rights to market Corona in the U.S. to smaller competitor Constellation Brands Inc., hoping that would appease regulators.

AB InBev and the other brewers involved in the complicated series of deals have been in talks with the DOJ about a possible resolution. They jointly asked the court in February for a stay on all litigation until March 19 for the talks to ensue.

The companies and the Justice Department on Friday jointly approached the court to request an extension of the stay until April 9, which they say will likely enable them to complete their discussions. A resolution is not guaranteed.

AB Inbev's shares slipped 83 cents to close at $95.43 Friday and were unchanged in after-hours trading on the news. Shares of Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands rose $1.04 to close at $45.75 and jumped nearly 4 percent to $47.40 in after-hours trading.