AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito is hoping to ease lawmakers’ concerns about the mammoth megabrew merger with SABMiller by defending the deal in front of US Congress today.
The £71bn deal, the biggest ever British corporate merger, will create the world's biggest brewer, gobbling up about half the industry’s total profit. It’s estimated that one in every three beers drunk worldwide would stem from the new giant, including many of your favourite “craft” beers.
The deal has yet to pass regulatory scrutiny, and competition concerns are expected to be a significant hurdle. AB InBev is planning to sell off SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors to Molson Coors for $12bn.
Brito will be joined by Molson Coors chief exec Mark Hunter to testify before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the big beer bosses hope to assuage fears over the merger’s impact on competition.
Senator Mike Lee, chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement:
This hearing will provide an opportunity to publicly examine the impact of the so-called “beerhemoth” merger on consumers and for the Antitrust Subcommittee to continue its oversight of potentially anti-competitive market consolidation.
AB InBev and SABMiller formally agreed on a deal worth £44 a share on 11 November, after months of negotiations, and several extended deadlines from UK regulators as the two brewing giants ironed out the details of the massive deal.