Corona, the Mexican lager which in its nearly 90 years of production grew into a symbol of the nation's cultural heritage, has come into foreign hands. InBev Anheuser-Busch, a multinational beverage and brewing company headquartered in Belgium and the world's largest brewer, finalized a deal to buy Grupo Modelo, the brewery which makes Corona, for $20.1 billion. 

El Pais reported that the Mexican government has their hand in the pot as well -- the Tax Administration Service (SAT by its Spanish initials) wants to levy a tax of 5 percent on the income from the sale from the biggest shareholders. The tax could generate more than $600 million for the Mexican government.   

InBev Anheuser-Busch had announced in April that it would sell the United States rights to Corona and a bevy of other foreign brands in order to proceed with the takeover. The New York Times reported in January that the Justice Department had filed an antitrust lawsuit against it to prevent it from acquiring Grupo Modelo, fearing that the company was on its way to gaining too big a share of the market. InBev struck a deal with the Justice Department: in exchange for the right to buy the brewery, it would sell Modelo's 50 percent stake in Crown Imports, which distributes Corona and other Modelo brands within the United States, to a company that already owned the other 50 percent. 


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"This is an $80 billion market," William J. Baer, an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's antitrust division, told the New York Times. "Even a 1 percent price change would cost consumers $1 billion a year. This agreement will help to keep the market competitive, dynamic and quite healthy."

InBev, which owns companies like Budweiser and Stella Artois, is seeking to assert its presence in Latin America, a crucial market. Mexico is the fourth largest market in the consumption of beer, and Corona -- Modelo's most popular brand -- is the most popular imported beer in the United States.

The government's taxing of the profits from the sale may have ruffled feathers among Mexico's business elite. Gerardo Gutiérrez, the president of a Mexican business chamber, told the newspaper 24 Horas that this sets a precedent. 

"In the end this is going to have long-term repercussions, as part of what is decided in this operation will be the criteria applied in other similar operations," he said.  

Spokespeople from Grupo Modelo have as yet declined to comment.