DOJ MOVES TO FINALIZE ABI-SABMILLER CONSENT ORDER, PARTIES SEEK HEARING

The Justice Department has petitioned the court to make finalize the Proposed Final Judgement eight months after the DOJ responded to public comments filed under the Tunney Act. In its motion the court seeks to make the terms of the consent order the DOJ negotiated with ABInbev and SABMiller/MolsonCoors final.  In this brief the DOJ claims to have responded to all concerns and they have complied with all terms of the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act (APPA). However, this view of compliance is not shared by a growing collections of entities.  There are now five different entities including NBWA that have petitioned Judge Sullivan noting concerns with the process and substance of this order.  While the specific concerns vary, a generalized theme has emerged from four of the briefs about holes in the terms and language of the PFJ that will cause real life enforcement challenges due to the inconsistent treatment of the competitive concern identified. The five entities that have filed briefs to date are Yuengling, Teamsters, Consumer Action and Consumer Watchdog , the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and the Brewers Association.