Constellation to Buy Remaining 50% of Crown Imports for $1.85 Billion
06/29/2012| 07:02am US/Eastern
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Constellation Brands Inc. (>> Constellation Brands, Inc.) has agreed to buy the remaining 50% stake of Crown Imports LLC, its joint venture with Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo SAB de CV (GPMCY, GMODELO.MX), for $1.85 billion from Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BT, BUD).
The move comes as Belgian beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BT, BUD) confirmed it will acquire the remaining stakes in Grupo Modelo in a deal worth $20.1 billion.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013. "We expect this transaction to dramatically enhance the financial profile of our company," Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands said.
Earlier this week, the company's shares surged amid talk of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (BUD, ABI.BT) buying Grupo Modelo. Investors had speculated that Constellation, which imports and markets Modelo's brands into the U.S., could benefit from a potential $3.5 billion buyout of its Crown Imports joint venture.
Crown's portfolio of brands includes Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Pacifico, Negra Modelo and Victoria.
Under the terms of the transaction, Constellation and Crown will have complete, independent control of distribution, marketing and pricing for all Modelo brands in the U.S., while AB InBev will ensure continuity of supply, quality of products and the ability to introduce innovations.
Also today, the company said it would suspend its share repurchase program--it currently has about $700 million remaining under its one billion share repurchase authorization.
Shares of Constellation closed at $21.76 Thursday and were inactive premarket. The stock is down 7.9% in the last three months.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at email@example.com