The European Commission has approved the intended merger between beer brewers AB InBev and SABMiller, a major step in the right direction for both companies. However, several other markets still have to approve the deal.
SABMiller sold its European activities
At first, Europe was reticent about the merger between the two world's largest beer brewers in the world. Once SABMiller sold brands like Grolsch and Pieroni, the European Commission greenlit the merger.
AB InBev sold SABMiller brands Grolsch, Pieroni and Meantime to Japanese brewer Asahi, and also proposed to sell SABMiller's Central and East European brands in order to avoid the newly-formed company becoming too dominant in Europe.
“Europeans buy about 125 billion euros' worth of beer each year, so even a relatively small price hike could considerably harm consumers", European commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said. "That is why it was important AB InBev's SABMiller acquisition could not lead to a weaker competition in the European beer markets."
Last year, SABMiller accepted a 92 billion euro takeover bid from AB InBev. Together, they will become the world's largest beer brewer - about twice as large as the new number two, Heineken.