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A-B InBev, Grupo Modelo, ask for more time

March 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

ST. LOUIS, March 16 (UPI) -- Two major brewing companies told a U.S. court they need more time to work out merger terms that would resolve Department of Justice antitrust concerns.

International beer-making giant Anheuser-Busch InBev and Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo said they had made "substantial progress" in carving out an agreement that would resolve the Justice Department's complaint that a merger between the two would do customers a disservice, the St. Louis Business Journal reported Saturday.

A-B InBev and Grupo Modelo agreed in June to a $20.1 billion deal that would give A-B InBev the half of the Mexican company that it did not already own, the newspaper said.

The Justice Department said the deal "would substantially lessen competition in the market for beer in the United States," and filed a lawsuit in January to block the merger.

The companies said in February they had agreed to modify the deal by allowing Constellation Brands to step in and buy a Grupo Modelo brewery and to own the rights for Corona and Modelo beer brands.

The companies are working on revisions to that $2.9 billion deal, the Business Journal said.

The companies say they will have a deal ready to present to the court by April 9. The court proceedings had already been pushed back to March 19.

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