Molson Coors Brewing Co. is nearing a deal to buy the rest of the MillerCoors LLC U.S. joint venture, paving the way for SABMiller PLC to cement its blockbuster sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev NV. As part of the deal, the U.K.'s SABMiller would sell its 58% of the venture to Denver's Molson Coors for more than $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal, which has been anticipated since SABMiller and AB InBev reached preliminary agreement on a $100 billion-plus merger in October, would include some other Miller brands, one of the people said. The agreement is expected to be announced Wednesday along with a formal pact between SABMiller and AB InBev. The MillerCoors takeover would be conditioned on the larger beer deal closing, the people said. AB InBev last week asked for another extension, until Wednesday, to make a formal offer for SABMiller. The Belgian brewer needed to find a buyer for SABMiller's MillerCoors stake before moving forward with a final offer so that it could improve its odds of winning regulatory approval in the U.S., where it has a 45% market share and MillerCoors has 25%. The joint venture, with about 8,000 employees, owns brands including Miller Lite, Coors Light and Blue Moon and smaller labels like Hamm's. It has been under pressure as consumers flock to craft brews and cocktails and more often eschew domestic lagers. SABMiller and Molson Coors formed the joint venture in 2008.
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