September 28/Sydney/Australian Associated Press -- Australia’s competition watchdog has cleared beverage giant SABMiller to buy Foster's for $10.7 billion, saying the takeover will not lessen competition for the supply of beer. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would not oppose the proposed takeover of Foster's by SABMiller, in a statement.

"The ACCC has formed the view that the proposed acquisition is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition for the supply of beer," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in the statement.

The ACCC said it had carried out a comprehensive review and sought comment from competing breweries, supermarket retailers, distributors, licensed venues and bottle shops. SABMiller currently owns half of Pacific Beverages, which makes the Bluetongue brand of beers, in a joint venture with Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA). SABMiller and CCA will end the joint venture, with SABMiller buying CCA out to own both Foster's and Pacific Beverages.

The ACCC said the removal of Pacific Beverages as an independent beer producer and supplier would be unlikely to raise substantial competition concerns.

Pacific Beverages was not a significant force in the Australian beer market and other competitive constraints would operate on SABMiller after its takeover of Foster's, Sims said.

The merged company will face competition from Lion Nathan, the second largest player in the Australian beer market, as well as smaller beer suppliers, such as Coopers and micro breweries.

Parallel imports and control brands supplied by the major supermarkets would also constrain SABMiller, the ACCC said.

 From the September 29, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.