The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Foster's Group by SABMiller plc, after concluding that the acquisition is not likely to substantially lessen competition in the Australian market for the supply of bulk and packaged beer.
The ACCC carried out a review, involving market inquiries with a range of interested parties in the beer industry, including competing breweries, supermarket retailers, distributors, licensed venues and bottle shops.
SABMiller currently operates in Australia through Pacific Beverages, a joint venture with Coca-Cola Amatil. After the proposed acquisition, SABMiller and Coca-Cola Amatil intend to terminate the joint venture so that SABMiller will wholly own both Foster's and Pacific Beverages.
After completing its competition analysis, the ACCC formed the view that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any market. Factors informing this conclusion were stated to include:
- the limited increase in market concentration that would occur as a result of the proposed acquisition;
- the existence of competitors that will continue to constrain the merged firm, including parallel imports of beer products into Australia; and
- the existence of alternative suppliers of control brand beers to the national supermarkets.