(By Balachander) Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP), the U.S.-Canadian brewer of Carling lager and Blue Moon brand, has received regulatory approval from the European Commission related to the proposed $3.54 billion acquisition of Central and East European beer brewer StarBev Holdings.
The Commission's investigation confirmed that the "proposed operation did not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure."
Given the small market share increase resulting from the transaction, the relatively low combined market shares of the parties and the presence of a number of credible competitors, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The Commission in particular examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition on the production and distribution of beer in the UK, which is the only market where the companies' activities overlap in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The EU clearance follows previous regulatory approvals from the Serbian Commission for the Protection of Competition, as well as the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine.
Last month, Molson Coors closed an offering of $1.9 billion in debt securities, the proceeds of which will be used to finance the acquisition.
StarBev is active in the brewing and distribution of beer primarily in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.
On Wednesday, TAP shares rose 1.17 percent to trade at $38.75 on the NYSE.