InBev has agreed to divest its U. S. sales of Labatt beer in order to complete its $52 billion takeover of Anheuser- Busch.
The U. S. Department of Justice’s has required that InBev sell off Labatt USA stating that otherwise it “would likely have led to higher prices for beer in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse” by eliminating competition.
The Anheuser-Busch and Labatt families of brands are the two biggest sellers in those three upstate markets, the Justice Department said.
In the large majority of U. S. markets, InBev accounts for less than 2 percent of beer sales and “engages in very little competition” with Anheuser- Busch, the Justice Department said. But in the upstate markets, sales of InBev’s Labatt brands account for a “significant portion” of sales.
About half of the sales of Labatt brand beer in the United States are to customers in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse metro areas, the Justice Department said.
It is too soon to say who that buyer might be, but there are few candidates. Industry sources have speculated that both Barton Brands, which is part of Constellation Brands, and Heineken USA may be interested.