AB InBev-SABMiller Deal Receives the First Green Light from EU Regulators

May 25, 2016

By Thy

Anheuser-Busch Inbev’s roughly $108 billion takeover of its rival SABMiller has received the approval from the European Commission, the bloc’s antitrust agency, and the deal now has taken one step closer to completion.

SABMiller will have to put some of its premium brands and some other operations in Europe on sale. AB Inbev has been engaging in assets selling activities to win regulatory approval. It has already agreed to a $3 billion deal to sell SABMiller’s premium European brands–Grolsch, Peroni and Meantime–to Japanese brewer Asahi. SABMiller’s assets in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia were also said to be the selling targets.

“Today’s decision will ensure that competition is not weakened in these markets and that EU consumers are not worse off,” said Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust Chief.

Since the announcement of a merger last November, AB InBev and SABMiller have been seeking antitrust approvals from many major global regulators including the European Union, the U.S., China and South Africa. European Commission is the first authority to give the companies the green light.

The deal will create an industry giant which accounts for 30% of the global sales. Yet it is not expected to complete before August 12, according to SABMiller.

AB Inbev and SABMiller saw their shares prices rise 2.39% and 1.87% respectively following the decision from the European Commission.

Over the last month, SABMiller and AB Inbev have been in major discussions among the financial crowd.

SABMiller - AB InBev 2

Late in April, the crowd was abuzz about AB Inbev’s plan to sell more SABMiller’s assets in Central and Eastern Europe in hopes of receiving the green light from the European Commission. One week later, the crowd started talking again about these two brewers on the fifth deadline extension from the South African competition watchdog to study more about the deal.

Last week, SABMiller posted an 18% slump to $2.7 billion in fiscal-year net profit amid the review process for the merger from global authorities. The merger thus far has cost SABMiller $160 million charge in staff costs and investment-banking fees.

On May 21, speculations on the news that EU regulators were about to clear the way for the merger emerged from the financial crowd. Yesterday, Sentifi has identified the growing buzz about the official approval with conditions from the European Commission, marking it a milestone for SABMiller and AB Inbev on their journey to become the industry giant with operations on all continents, except for Antarctica.

Intense discussions among the financial crowd have proved that the merger is among the hottest M&A deal amid the recent rise of mega-deals.

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