Anheuser-Busch InBev - proposed acquisition of SABMiller plc


  • Anheuser-Busch InBev


  • SABMiller plc

Market definition

ACCC considered the competition effects of the proposed acquisition in the context of a national market for the supply of bulk and packaged beer. The ACCC considered that the market definition was not critical to the competition assessment. Whether or not there are separate markets for different segments of the beer market (i.e. premium versus non-premium) or state-based markets would not have altered the competition analysis.

Competition analysis

The ACCC concluded that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market. Factors informing this view included the following:

- AB InBev/SABMiller is unlikely to have an increased ability and incentive to unilaterally raise prices. The proposed acquisition would have only a minimal impact on market structure. With or without the acquisition, there would be two main suppliers of beer operating in the Australian market.
- AB InBev/SABMiller would continue to face competition from other suppliers including Lion, Coopers, Asahi and Coca-Cola Amatil.
- It is not apparent that the proposed acquisition would remove a significant potential competitor, as AB InBev has historically had only a very limited direct company presence in Australia, with no local brewing operations. Instead, it has relied on distribution via Lion or SABMiller/CUB.
- AB InBev has served notices to terminate agreements with Lion for distribution of Corona and other AB InBev brands in Australia, subject to certain notice periods. This resolves the ACCC's concern that the proposed acquisition may have increased the ability and incentive for coordination between Lion and AB InBev/SABMiller.


18/01/2016ACCC commenced review under the Merger Process Guidelines.
15/02/2016Closing date for submissions from interested parties. ACCC assessing information provided during market inquiries and consulting with merger parties on relevant issues or concerns arising.
25/02/2016ACCC requested further information from the merger parties.
07/03/2016ACCC received further information from the merger parties.
10/03/2016ACCC requested further information from AB InBev.
31/03/2016ACCC received further information from AB InBev.
19/04/2016Former proposed decision date of 21 April 2016 delayed at the request of the merger parties to allow them to provide more information.
27/04/2016ACCC received further information from the merger parties.
05/05/2016ACCC announced it would not oppose the proposed acquisition.