InBev-Miller Deal Signals Tougher Merger Scrutiny in China


The Chinese government used a pair of distinguishing factors in approving Anheuser-Busch In-Bev's takeover of SABMiller PLC last month that warrant close scrutiny by multinational companies seeking to merge or acquire companies there, practitioners told Bloomberg BNA.


For the first time, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) distinguished between mass-market and premium brands, and defined the geographic market to be anything smaller than China itself when conditionally approving a merger.


“If a merger or an acquisition triggers the threshold of merger filing in China, the parties should pay particular attention to the definition of relevant market, e.g. whether the proposed relevant product market should be sub-segmented as high-end and mass-market; and whether the relevant geographic market is regional taking into account the distribution area and the transportation cost of the relevant product,” Kate Peng, a partner and antitrust specialist at King & Wood Mallesons in Beijing, said in an e-mail.


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