Molson pays $12 billion for control of Chicago’s MillerCoors

SHARE Molson pays $12 billion for control of Chicago’s MillerCoors
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Brewer Molson Coors has agreed to pay $12 billion for the part of Chicago-based MillerCoors that it didn’t own. | AP file photo

Brewer Molson Coors has agreed to pay $12 billion for the part of Chicago-based MillerCoors that it didn’t own.

SABMiller jettisoned its 58 percent stake in MillerCoors as part of a much bigger deal to merge with AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser.

MillerCoors was a joint venture owned by SABMiller and Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Co. The MillerCoors deal includes rights to the Miller brand name in the United States and gives Molson Coors full control of operations.

Budweiser maker AB InBev announced Wednesday a final agreement to buy SABMiller for $107 billion.

“This combination would create the first truly global brewer,” AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito told reporters in a conference call after the deal, which is set to be completed next year.

AB InBev is seeking to bolster growth by acquiring SABMiller’s businesses in Africa and Asia as changing tastes and the growth of craft beers cut sales in developed markets.

“The transaction would strengthen AB InBev’s position in key emerging regions with strong growth prospects such as Asia, Central and South America, and Africa,” AB InBev said in a statement. “These regions have hugely attractive markets and will be critically important to the future success of the Combined Group.”

In some ways, though, the announcement marked only the end of the beginning. Though AB InBev got SABMiller’s main shareholders on board and lined up the largest-ever acquisition debt package, Erik Gordon of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan said the deal faces regulatory risks.

That’s particularly true in China, which is known to be tough in negotiations, and in South Africa, which has put the companies on notice that it will look at the deal’s impact on the overall economy.

“It’s easier for businesspeople to reach agreements with each other than to reach an agreement with regulators,” he said. “Regulators get no reward for reaching an agreement but get praised for being tough.”

The new company will be listed in Belgium, with secondary listings in Johannesburg, Mexico and New York.

BY DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press

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