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Budweiser-Corona Alters Merger in Bid for Approval

Regulators sued to block it over fears of reduced competition


On Thursday, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) announced that it will sell some assets of Grupo Modelo (PINK:GPMCY) and change the terms of its deal with Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) in order to make its $20.1 billion acquisition of the Mexican beer brewer more palatable to regulators.

The news sent shares of Constellation Brands soaring more than 36% in Thursday midday trading, while Anheuser-Busch surged almost 5%.

Report: Craft Beer Set to Triple by 2017
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Previously, Constellation was to purchase a 50% stake in Grupo Modelo’s Crown Imports, though Anheuser-Busch would retain the right to terminate its distribution deal with Crown Imports. Now, Anheuser-Busch will sell permanent rights to distribute Corona beer and other Grupo Modelo beer brands in the U.S. to Constellation, the Associated Press noted.

Constellation will pay $2.9 billion for the rights under the new deal, which is mean to ease regulators objections to the merger.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice went to federal court to block the merger, arguing that the deal would give the combined company almost half of the U.S. beer market, throttling competition and raising prices for consumers.

A Justice Department spokesman said it was continuing to press the lawsuit to stop the merger, but would review the new proposal.

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