Done Deal

The U.S. Department of Justice closed its investigation of a proposed joint venture between Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Miller Brewing Co. on Thursday, clearing the way for the brewers to combine their U.S. operations.

The eight-month investigation concluded that the joint venture would not reduce competition in the market, the department’s antitrust division said in a statement.

The deal was aimed at helping them compete against Anheuser-Busch Cos., which has about half the U.S. market.

“We’re obviously very happy about the outcome,” Miller spokesman Pete Marino said. “We’ve believed all along this was a pro-competitive deal.” Molson Coors Chief Executive Leo Kiely called Thursday’s announcement “a critical milestone.”

“MillerCoors is quickly moving toward becoming a reality,” he said in a statement.

Miller is owned by London-based SABMiller PLC. European Union regulators have already approved the deal.