Antitrust beer deal will expand Corona's global reach

April 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

ST. LOUIS, April 20 (UPI) -- Anheuser-Bush InBev says its deal with U.S. antitrust regulators will expand the worldwide presence of beers from Mexico.

The settlement between the beer giant and the Department of Justice calls for the sale of Anheuser-Bush's 50 percent stake in the company that distributes the popular Mexican beer Corona to Constellation Brands, which already holds the other half.

The deal will clear the way for Bush to acquire the actual brewer of Corona, Grupo Modelo,for more than $20 billion.

"Ultimately, nothing will change for consumers in the U.S. as a result of this transaction," said Laura Vallis, a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch InBev. "The proposed combination with Grupo Modelo has always been about Mexico, and making Corona more global in markets other than the United States."

The New York Times said Corona is the top-selling import in the U.S. market and has a potentially great upside in the European market.

Constellation, the largest wine importer in the U.S., will pay $5.5 billion for Bush's stake in Crown Imports, which distributes the Mexican brews Pacifico and Modelo in the United States.

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