South African Regulators Give Green Light To $107B Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller Merger

Image courtesy of Scott Lynch

Anheuser-Busch InBev has one more regulatory body to mark off on its “Places To Get Approval For $107 Billion Takeover Of SABMiller” checklist: South Africa’s Competition Commission gave its blessing to the mega-beer merger Tuesday after placing several conditions on the approval.

The SAB portion of SABMilller has its roots in South Africa. Though the parent company’s global headquarters has been based in London for more than 60 years, South African Breweries still operates out of the Johannesburg area.

According to Bloomberg, the South African regulators missed four deadlines for reviewing the merger before they finally signed off on the deal.

By acquiring SABMiller, AB InBev would gain significant market share in Africa, where beer sales are expected to grow in the coming years.

Of course, giving the green light to creating the largest beer producer in the world comes with a few conditions.

Under the approval, AB InBev must sell SABMiller’s 26% stake in local wine, cider, and spirits producer Distell Group within three years of closing the deal.

AB InBev might not have a difficult time finding a buyer for the producer. Remgro, which already owns a portion of Distell, has previously said it would be interested in taking over SABMiller’s stake.

Other conditions to approval include separating the combined company’s bottling operations with Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co., protecting jobs, and setting up a $64 million fund to support local farmers, Bloomberg reports.

“These conditions address issues that were raised by various stakeholders since the announcement of the acquisition,” Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said in the statement.

Approval in South Africa comes just a week after European regulators gave their blessing to the combination following AB InBev’s moves to sell off some of SABMillers brands overseas.

So far, AB InBev has agreed to sell the Peroni and Grolsch brands to Japan’s Asahi Group for $2.9 billion.

It also pledged to sell SABMiller’s eastern European business in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia for $8 billion. However, the company has yet to announce a buyer for those assets, which include brands like Pilsner Urquell in Czech Republic and Dreher in Hungary.

By selling off SABMiller’s assets, AB InBev will continue to have a small presence in Europe.

The betrothed companies previously reached a deal to sell SABMiller’s stake in the Miller/Coors brand to Molson Coors for $12 billion. The massive deal between the companies must still receive regulatory approval in the U.S. among other areas.

Here’s a look at the brands that are currently being sold off to pave the way for the merger:

Brand Owner Buyer Price
Miller/Coors SABMiller Molson Coors $12 Billion
CR Snow (Chinese brand) SABMiller China Resources $1.6 Billion
Peroni, Grolsch, & Other European Brands SABMiller Asahi Group $2.9 Billion
Eastern European Brands (Pilsner Urquell, Dreher, and others) SABMiller To Be Determined ~$8 billion
Distell (spirit, wine, beer producer in South Africa) SABMiller Remgro (rumored) To Be Determined

South Africa Regulator Backs AB InBev Takeover of SABMiller [Bloomberg]

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