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    SABMiller, Molson Coors Sign Merger Agreements

    The action moves the two a step closer to a combination of the businesses.

    MILWAUKEE -- SABMiller PLC, parent company of Miller Brewing Co., and Molson Coors Brewing Co. moved ahead in their plans to combine their U.S. businesses when both signed a definitive agreement for the merger late last week, The Associated Press reported.

    The merger, which still requires regulatory clearance, was announced in October by the two brewers, and is meant to position the companies to better compete with the nation's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch. The combined companies will be called MillerCoors, the AP reported.

    Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing, which makes Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft, makes up 18 percent of the market, while Denver-based Molson Coors, maker of Coors Light, has approximately 11 percent, according to the AP.

    If the deal is completed, almost 80 percent of the U.S. beer market will be held by Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, the report stated.

    The deal is under review by federal antitrust regulators. Molson Coors Chief Executive Leo Kiely, who will head up the new venture, told the AP the transaction is expected to close in mid-2008.

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