Market Beat: U.S. halts plot to dominate the world’s beer
TRUCKEE, Calif. — A couple of months ago, I wrote about an evil plan to control the world’s beer supply. Here’s part of what I wrote back then.AB InBev is a mega corporation that was formed in 2008 as a result of a hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch by InBev. InBev is based in Belgium and is the maker of Beck’s and Stella Artois. When they took over Anheuser-Busch they got all of the Budweiser products. Bud Light is still America’s number one beer. AB InBev is a $140 billion company.In November, AB InBev got approval from the Mexican authorities for the purchase of Grupo Modelo. Grupo Modelo is the company that makes the popular beer known as Corona, which is America’s numero uno imported beer. That means number one for those of you who don’t speak Spanish. The headline may seem innocent enough, like just another corporate acquisition, but in reality it’s a part of a much larger plot for one company to control the global beer supply.Apparently someone at the U.S. Department of Justice read my column and decided to take action because the Justice Department has now sued AB InBev to stop the takeover of Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona. The price tag on Grupo Modelo was about $20 billion.Bill Baer, assistant attorney general of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, said, “If AB InBev fully owned and controlled Grupo Modelo, AB InBev would be able to increase beer prices to American consumers. This lawsuit seeks to prevent AB InBev from eliminating Grupo Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.”Bloomberg News has said that the pricing strategies of Grupo Modelo and AB InBev are opposite. While Grupo Modelo has tried to keep its prices low in order to be competitive, AB InBev has a history of raising prices to further their profits.That’s good news for the American consumer. AB InBev already has about 250 beer labels under their control and many long time beer drinkers have claimed that they have been tinkering with some old recipes and have lowered the quality of some of the labels. It will be interesting to see how this case plays out over the next few months and which party prevails. Both AB InBev and Grupo Modelo stock declined when the news of the legal action from the Justice Department was announced.Kenneth Roberts is a Truckee based Registered Investment Advisor. Information on his money management service can be found at his blog at http://www.sellacalloption.com or by calling 775-657-8065. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial adviser before purchasing any security.