European Commission approves AB InBev's SABMiller takeover

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

European Commission approves AB InBev's SABMiller takeover

Related tags: Ab inbev, European union

EU regulators have given the green light to AB Inbev's takeover of SABMiller, making AB Inbev the world's largest brewer.

Clearance was given to the deal on the condition that AB Inbev sold almost the entirety of SABMiller's business in Europe.

Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: "Today's decision will ensure that competition is not weakened in these markets and that EU consumers are not worse off.

"Europeans buy around €125bn (£98.8m) of beer every year, so even a relatively small price increase could cause considerable harm to consumers."

Initial concern

Regulators were initially concerned the takeover could have led to higher beer prices in EU member states where SABMiller is currently active by removing an important competitor and increased the chances of "tacit co-ordination" between leading international brewers.

To comply with the commission's conditions, AB Inbev has already sold a variety of brands including Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime to Japanese brewer Asahi and offered to dispel additional concerns by divesting SABMiller's business in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Clearance pending

AB Inbev said that in remaining jurisdictions where regulatory clearance was still pending, it would continue "to engage proactively with the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary clearances as quickly as possible".

This deal will leave AB Inbev with roughly one third of the global beer economy. How will it affect craft brewers in the UK? Read Roger Protz’s opinion​.

Related topics: Beer

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