The Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser, to block its acquisition of Grupo Modelo, maker of Corona, officials announced Thursday.
The department said the proposed $20.1-billion merger of the world's largest and third-largest beer makers would lead to an increase in retail prices to consumers.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, based in Belgium, had a 50% non-controlling stake in Mexico-based Grupo Modelo before offering to buy the rest of the company last year.
The Justice Department said AB InBev and Grupo Modelo account for 46% of beer sales in the U.S.
"We took this action today because we believe the acquisition is a bad deal for American consumers,” Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division, said in a conference call.