Beer drinkers of America: the Department of Justice has your back.
The DOJ filed a civil antitrust lawsuit this week to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s $20.1 billion deal to buy the remaining shares of Grupo Modelo, brewers of Corona, saying that merging the largest and third largest beer makers would “substantially lessen competition”. In other words, if this deal went through there would be nothing to keep the cost of your Friday night suds from skyrocketing.
Under the proposed merger, ABI and Modelo would together control about 46 percent of beer sales in the US. Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of DOJ’s antitrust division, said “If ABI fully owned and controlled Modelo, ABI would be able to increase beer prices to American consumers. This lawsuit seeks to prevent ABI from eliminating Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.”
In order to prove ABI’s dubious intentions, the DOJ’s complaint quotes internal company documents that highlight ABI’s plans to maintain its upward price leadership.
But Anheuser-Busch, like so many boozed-up brawlers before it, won’t be going down without a fight. The company said that it plans to “vigorously contest the DOJ’s action in federal court”. Oddly, whoever wrote the release forgot to add “despite the fact that everyone in the world knows that both Budweiser and Corona taste like overpriced, alcohol-flavored water.”
We’ll keep you posted as this story progresses. In the meantime, though, we’ve uncovered Anheuser-Busch’s nefarious plans to interrupt your Super Bowl with this tear-jerker of a commercial (as if trying to raise the price of your beer weren’t bad enough). We may or may not have begun our Friday morning watching this clip, singing along, and blubbering into our housecoats. Dammit, Clydesdales – you get us every time.