S&N again rejects takeover bid

15-01-2008

S&N again rejects takeover bid
Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), Britain's biggest brewer, has again rejected a £7.6 billion takeover bid from Carlsberg and Heineken today.

An S&N statement to the stock exchange announced that the offer for 780p per share undervalues the brewer and informed shareholders that trading has been "in line with expectations" despite difficult trading conditions.

The brewer has refused to engage in negotiations unless the price is lifted to 800p per share.

"We have clearly stated the level at which we would engage with the consortium [Carlsberg and Heineken] and have again called for greater transparency on BBH [Baltic Beverages Holdings, the two firms' joint brewing venture in eastern Europe]. We would urge shareholders to continue to press the consortium to cooperate in releasing the BBH information," said John Dunsmore, chief executive of S&N.

S&N wants its partner in the highly-lucrative BBH venture to make public parts of its three-year business plan for the operation, which consists of 19 breweries in Russia, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"S&N has demonstrated the strength of its brand portfolio by delivering strong performance in both the UK and France in Q4 despite difficult market conditions," the release said.

The maker of Newcastle Brown, Kronenbourg and Foster's beer has also been in talks with various private equity firms, such as Anhesuer-Busch, in an attempt to wrestle full control of its joint venture with Carlsberg.

Carlsberg has also been vying to buy S&N's half of the Baltic beverage producer.

Beer and cider sales remained "level year-on-year" in the fourth quarter, the update said.

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