The group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming Belgium-based InBev’s $52 billion purchase of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. would violate U.S. antitrust law if completed as planned in the coming months.A doomed venture, but as someone who regularly signs on for doomed ventures, this beguiles.
The suit, filed in Anheuser-Busch’s hometown of St. Louis, does not seek financical damages but asks a judge to block the deal. The Department of Justice often reviews large acquisitions to determine if they are legal under U.S. law. But attorneys behind the lawsuit said they want to halt the deal regardless of the verdict in Washington.
The suit filed Tuesday challenges the deal’s legality on different grounds. It says the merged brewery, to be called Anheuser-Busch InBev, would have a monopoly over beer production in the United States. The lawsuit argues that combining two of the world’s biggest breweries will reduce competition.They're doing it as Bud drinkers, but their point is relevant to the rest of us, too. This does look pretty monopolistic. A-B has half the market, and now you add one of the major players in imports and it does seem likely to unbalance things. Not that will matter a whit to regulators, who have approved mergers of companies with far greater stakes in their industries. (That there are 1,500 US brewers also deflates the argument somewhat.)
“If InBev is allowed to purchase Anheuser-Busch, there no longer would be any significant major potential competitor to influence pricing and marketing practices in the United States.” the suit says.
Nevertheless, I say Godspeed, men! (Hat tip: John.)