European regulator set to conditionally approve AB InBev-SABMiller merger

The European regulator is set to conditionally approve Anheuser-Busch InBev's (AB InBev) $104-billion proposed acquisition of its smaller peer SABMiller, after the maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois agreed to substantial asset sales, Reuters yesterday reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The EC is expected to decide on the deal by 24 May, while the Australian and South African regulators have already approved the deal.

The US and Chinese regulators have yet to approve the transaction.

While the European Commission (EC) was in the midst of scrutinising the mega deal, AB InBev in April agreed to sell SABMiller's Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime beer brands to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd for $2.9 billion, (See: AB InBev accepts €2.55-bn Asahi offer for premium beer brands) and said that it would sell SABMiller's assets in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, including the rights to Pilsner Urquell outside the US.

In October 2015, SABMiller agreed to be acquired by its larger rival AB InBev for nearly £69 billion ($104 billion) in a record industry deal that would give AB InBev around 30 per cent of the global beer market.

A successful merger would create the world's most powerful beer family including InBev's Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois labels, and Miller High Life, Coors and Blue Moon, from SABMiller.