Anheuser-Busch InBev Wins Dismissal of Antitrust Suit

Skadden won a complete dismissal of federal antitrust claims alleging that firm client Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) conspired with Molson Coors Brewing Company to exclude American breweries from the beer market in Ontario, Canada. The plaintiff, the operator of a U.S.-based brewery, alleged that ABI and Molson Coors, whose Canadian subsidiaries jointly own a beer retailer in the province, engaged in a group boycott to compel the government-owned beer retailer not to sell large-sized packs of beer in its stores. The plaintiff alleged that the conspiracy resulted in lost sales of its brewery’s beer in Ontario. In dismissing the claims, Judge James Peterson of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin held that the Sherman Act claims were barred by the act-of-state doctrine, because all of the challenged conduct was governed by a contract with and had been authorized by every branch of the Ontario government.