Modelo Said to Hire Bank of America to Sell Extra Chain

Grupo Modelo SAB, Mexico’s biggest brewer, hired Bank of America Corp. to help sell its Extra convenience-store chain, said people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because details are private.

Modelo, the maker of Corona beer, had 960 Extra stores at the end of 2011 after cutting the number by more than half over the previous five years, according to annual reports. Jennifer Shelley, a spokeswoman for the Mexico City-based company, declined to comment. A Bank of America spokeswoman declined to comment.

The brewer in 2007 announced plans to close hundreds of Extra stores as Chief Executive Officer Carlos Fernandez said that the company was trying to “focus on profitability.” Modelo had 2,043 Extra stores at the end of 2006.

In April 2012 Chief Financial Officer Emilio Fullaondo said Modelo was “talking about analyzing different possibilities” for the Extra business.

“We have a lot more competitors coming into the retail side in terms of the convenience stores,” he told analysts on a conference call.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, is seeking to buy the half of Modelo it doesn’t already own for $20.1 billion. An antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. government to block the transaction has been suspended until April 9 as settlement talks continue. The brewers have made “substantial progress” in their discussions with the government, AB InBev said March 15.

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