Carlsberg, Heineken in deal to buy S&N

17 October, 2007

Brewers Carlsberg and Heineken have confirmed they are in talks to buy and carve up Scottish & Newcastle, the UK’s largest brewer.

Carlsberg and Heineken issued a statement Wednesday, in answer to a renewed flurry of speculation regarding Scottish & Newcastle’s (S&N) future. Any offer, they said, would be made in cash.

Shares in S&N have rocketed since the beginning of October, rising from below 600p to 766p by midday Wednesday. This would value S&N at around £7bn, excluding debt.

The news marks a big week for beer industry consolidation, after SABMiller and Molson Coors announced they would merge operations in the US.

Current plans for S&N would see Heineken take S&N’s business in the UK, including the John Smiths brand and rights to Foster’s, as well as operations in other European markets.

Carlsberg would take operations in France and Greece, as well as complete control of the two brewer’s Eastern Europe joint venture, BBH.

Part of the carve-up plan may be to avoid competition concerns in different markets. Heineken is the main rival to S&N's Kronenbourg in France, while Carlsberg has a lower profile in the country.

No formal approach has yet been made.

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