Anheuser-Busch InBev submits concessions for European approval of SABMiller acquisition

Anheuser-Busch InBev has submitted concessions to the European antitrust regulator in order to get approval for its $104-billion acquisition of SABMiller.

The European Commission (EC) said in a statement that it would decide by 24 May whether to approve the transaction or extend the review.

The EC did not reveal what concessions the companies were offering to allay any antitrust concerns.

Anheuser Busch has been seeking potential buyers for SABMiller's Peroni and Grolsch European beer brands, valued at more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion), in order to get European regulatory approval for the deal.

In January, Japanese daily Yomiuri reported that Japan's beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings Ltd is expected to table a bid for Peroni and Grolsch for around $3.41 billion. (See: Japan's Asahi Group expected to table $3.41-bn bid for two SABMiller brands)

The Asian brewer has a better chance to wrap up the deal since it can get cost savings from merging both brands into their existing business and also avail of cheaper funds.

Asahi Group, Japan's biggest beer maker with a 38-per cent market share, has recently been looking at expanding overseas through strategic acquisitions because of stagnant demand in the local market due to an aging population.

Anheuser Busch InBev, which owns Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona, has already struck a deal to sell SABMiller's 58-per cent stake in MillerCoors to Molson Coors for $12 billion in order to allay competition concerns in the US and will also be forced to sell its market-leading Snow brand in China.