WASHINGTON, Thu Jan 31, 2013 — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev SA from buying the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own, saying the $20.1 billion deal would lessen competition in the U.S. beer market.
Trading in Constellation Brands, which would have become sole owner of the company that distributes Modelo’s Corona beer in the United States if the transaction had been approved, was halted after it dropped 23.8 percent.
AB InBev shares dropped as much as 8.0 percent to a three-month low and were the weakest performers in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European stocks.
Shares in Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo fell to a seven-month low, down 9.5 percent to 105 pesos on the Mexican exchange.
InBev said in a statement that the Justice Department’s decision to sue to stop the deal was “inconsistent with the law, the facts and the reality of the market place.”