Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“AB InBev”) (Euronext: ABI) (NYSE: BUD) (MEXBOL: ABI) (JSE: ANB) welcomes the European Commission’s approval of its recommended combination with SABMiller plc (“SABMiller”).
European Commission approval in Phase I of the EU merger review process is a significant milestone for the transaction and in keeping with AB InBev’s ambition to secure the necessary regulatory approvals that will allow for closing in the second half of 2016.
To achieve European Commission approval at this stage and consistent with AB InBev’s approach to proactively addressing potential regulatory considerations, AB InBev proposed the sale of the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands and their associated businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, UK and internationally (excluding certain US rights) to Asahi, whom the European Commission today approved as a suitable purchaser.
AB InBev also proposed the sale of SABMiller’s businesses in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland). The Central and Eastern European businesses can be sold to one or two purchasers and can be completed after closing of AB InBev’s proposed combination with SABMiller.
These divestments are conditional on the successful closing of the recommended combination of AB InBev with SABMiller, and in the case of the Central and Eastern European businesses, on the European Commission’s approval of the purchaser(s) as suitable purchasers.
“We are very pleased with the positive decision of the European Commission. With this clearance, we remain firmly on track for a closing in the second half of 2016”, comments Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev.
AB InBev has now obtained approval in 14 jurisdictions. Clearance decisions, with or without conditions, have now been obtained: in Asia-Pacific (Australia, India and South Korea); in Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zambia); in Europe (the EU, Albania and Ukraine); and in Latin America (Chile, Colombia and Mexico). Approval in Ecuador is subject to certain conditions.
In the remaining jurisdictions where regulatory clearance is still pending, AB InBev will continue to engage proactively with the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary clearances as quickly as possible.
The combination between AB InBev and SABMiller would create a truly global brewer, providing more choices for beer drinkers, including global and local brands, in new and existing markets around the world.