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Restaurants’ two mega beer suppliers set to become one

coors light cases

Restaurateurs will see two of their largest beer suppliers become one under the definitive merger agreement that was announced yesterday by Anheuser-Busch Inbev and SABMiller.

U.S. restaurant operations with overseas branches will see less change in competition for their beer business because rights to sell Miller-brand beer outside of the United States will be sold to a third company, MolsonCoors.

Even with that spinoff, the as-yet-unnamed company formed by the merger of AB and SABMiller would control an estimated 29 percent of the global beer market.

Under the deal disclosed yesterday, AB, the parent of Budweiser and Shock Top, will buy SABMiller, parent of Miller and Miller Lite, in a deal valued in excess of $105 billion.

Because of the size of the deal—one of the biggest acquisitions in U.S. history—it is sure to draw regulatory scrutiny. Another mega-deal affecting competition for restaurants’ business, the proposed merger of distribution giants Sysco and US Foods, was blocked by U.S. regulators.

To smooth approval, AB and SABMiller have agreed to sell the latter’s 58 percent stake in MillerCoors to partner MolsonCoors for $12 billion. That deal ensures that Coors and Coors Light would remain competitors to Budweiser, Bud Lite, Miller and Miller Lite.

The AB-SABMiller merger already has the approval of several major shareholders of the two brewers

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