WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department is challenging Anheuser-Busch InBev's (NYSE: BUD ) proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo (NASDAQOTH: GPMCY ) , which would unite the ownership of popular beers like Budweiser and Corona.
The government says the deal would substantially reduce competition in the U.S. beer market, particularly in 26 metropolitan areas.
Americans spent at least $80 billion on beer last year. ABI's Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the nation and Modelo's Corona Extra is the best-selling import.
The Justice Department's lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeks to prevent the merger and to continue competition between the firms.
Bill Baer, the assistant attorney general for the department's antitrust division, says ABI would be able to increase beer prices to U.S. consumers if the merger were to go through.