Constellation Brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV: GMODELOC), have reached a final agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on the terms of a settlement of the Department of Justice’s litigation challenging AB InBev’s proposed acquisition of the remaining stake in Grupo Modelo that it does not already own.
Constellation will become a fully independent beer competitor in the U.S. with perpetual rights for the Modelo brands currently sold by Crown and autonomous control of distribution, marketing, promotion and pricing. In addition, Constellation will have full control of its production and supply chain and have full rights to create line extensions and new brands to continue to drive the business.
“The Crown acquisition represents a significant milestone for Constellation as the most transformational event in the history of our 68-year-old company,” said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer, Constellation Brands. “Overall, this transaction will nearly double the sales of our company, significantly enhance our earnings and free cash flow, diversify our profit stream and provide new avenues for growth. It will solidify our place in the U.S. beer market for the long term as the brand owner and producer of the iconic Modelo portfolio of brands in the U.S. with Corona Extra, the best selling imported beer, Corona Light, the leading imported light beer and Modelo Especial, the third largest and the fastest growing major imported beer brand in the category.”
The parties have jointly approached the Court with the terms of a proposed Final Judgment, which would fully resolve the Department of Justice’s claims in its litigation challenging the proposed acquisition.
The agreement is substantially in line with the revised transaction announced on February 14, 2013. The proposed Final Judgment presented to the Court includes additional binding commitments to the revised transaction, which are designed to ensure a prompt divestiture of assets by AB InBev to Constellation, the necessary build-out of the Piedras Negras brewery by Constellation, as well as certain distribution guarantees for Constellation in the United States.
Once the Stipulation and Order (which is filed concurrently with, and requires the parties to comply with, the proposed Final Judgment) is signed by the Court, AB InBev, Grupo Modelo and Constellation intend to move swiftly to complete the pending transactions. These include an all-cash tender offer of USD 9.15 per share by AB InBev for all the outstanding Grupo Modelo shares it does not already own and, upon completion of the tender offer, the sale of Grupo Modelo’s Piedras Negras brewery and stake in Crown to Constellation.
The Mexican Competition Commission approved the revised transaction with Constellation in early April 2013. Therefore, once the Stipulation and Order is signed, all regulatory approvals necessary for closing the transactions with Grupo Modelo and Constellation will have been obtained. The transaction is expected to occur around the end of Constellation’s first quarter fiscal 2014 or shortly thereafter.