Anheuser-Busch to complete acquisition of SABMiller today

MillerCoors spinoff expected Tuesday

MillerCoors Milwaukee brewery
The MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Brussels-based Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is expected to complete its acquisition of London-based SABMiller PLC for more than $100 billion today.

MillerCoors Milwaukee brewery
The MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.

The resulting company will brew about one-third of the world’s beer. A-B InBev brews brands including Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and Beck’s. SABMiller brews a number of international brands including Pilsner Urquell, Radegast, Foster’s Lager and Carlton Draught. MillerCoors, SABMiller’s U.S. joint venture, brews brands including Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Coors Light, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s.

The massive global brewers agreed to the combination in September 2015, and have since been seeking government approval around the world. Shareholders of both companies approved the merger Sept. 28.

In order to win U.S. approval and satisfy antitrust concerns, SABMiller on Tuesday is expected to complete its planned $12 billion sale of its 58 percent stake in the MillerCoors joint venture to Molson Coors Brewing Co., said Jonathan Stern, director of media relations for MillerCoors.

“Molson Coors will now own MillerCoors 100 percent,” Stern said. “MillerCoors will be the U.S. business unit of Molson Coors.”

Chicago-based MillerCoors was formed through SABMiller’s combination of its U.S. and Puerto Rico operations with Denver-based Molson Coors in 2008.

Before the joint venture was formed, SABMiller’s U.S. operation, Miller Brewing, was based in Milwaukee. MillerCoors still has about 1,200 employees and brews about 10 million barrels per year at its brewery in Milwaukee’s Miller Valley. It also brews Leinenkugel’s and specialty beer at its 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee.

Molson Coors plans to keep the MillerCoors name and Chicago headquarters. Stern said MillerCoors will continue to operate in much the same way following Molson Coors’ purchase, and Milwaukee will continue to be one of the company’s three hometown markets well into the future.

“It’s business as usual for MillerCoors,” he said. “Popular brands such as Coors Light, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Leinenkugel’s, Blue Moon, etc. will all continue to be brewed in Miller Valley. These brands will have no affiliation with (A-B InBev) whatsoever.”

Molson Coors will now be the largest American brewer.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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