On November 14, 2008, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) required Inbev N.V./S.A. (“Inbev”) to divest its subsidiary Labatt USA (“Labatt”) in order for Inbev’s $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc (“Anheuser-Busch”) to proceed. Along with the divestiture, Inbev must sell its license to brew, market, promote, and sell the Labatt brand of beer for consumption in the United States to a DOJ-approved purchaser.
Although Inbev accounts for only 2% of beer sales in the majority of markets in the United States, the Labatt brands, Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light, and Anheuser-Busch brands, Budweiser and Bud Light, were the two largest groups of brand families in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. According to the DOJ, the elimination of competition in these markets would have resulted in higher consumer prices.