by Christopher Freeburn | June 29, 2012 11:45 am
Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) is selling its stake in Crown Imports to Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) for $1.85 billion.
Constellation will gain independent control over U.S. distribution, marketing and pricing of Corona beer and become the third-largest alcohol beverage vendor in the U.S. market, the Associated Press noted.
Investors liked the news, sending Constellation shares up more than 22% in Friday trading, while Anheuser-Busch InBev shares rose just over 5%.
The deal follows Anheuser-Busch’s announcement last week that it will pay $20.1 billion to purchase the outstanding ownership of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo.
Constellation and Grupo Modelo were joint partners in Crown Imports, which distributes Grupo Modelo beer brands, including Corona Light, Corona Extra, Pacifico and Modelo Especialm, in the U.S.
The deal must be okayed by regulators. However, barring any government action, it is expected to close during the first quarter of next year.
Constellation will delay further spending on a previously announced $1 billion share repurchase plan. $700 million has yet to be spent on the stock buyback plan.
Company officials indicated that Constellation has obtained bridge loans for the Crown Imports deal.
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