S&N rejects raised bid from brewing giants

SCOTTISH & Newcastle has rejected a second takeover approach from European beer giants Carlsberg and Heineken.

The pair have upped their bid in the battle to win Scottish & Newcastle, increasing their 6.8 billion offer to 7.3bn.

Carlsberg and Heineken said the cash proposal was a "full and fair" offer and represented an increase of 30 pence a share from their previous proposal.

They also said that the bid put an enterprise value of about 9.7bn on the Capital business - "substantially in excess of the standalone independent value of S&N".

The consortium partners said that they believed it was important that S&N shareholders were fully informed of the merits of their proposal in advance of S&N's expected trading update next Tuesday.

"Following the S&N board's cursory dismissal of the consortium's initial proposal and their refusal to engage in discussions to date, the consortium has decided to provide details of its increased and full and fair proposal directly to the market," said the partners.

But S&N rebuffed the improved offer as well, which is pitched at 750p a share.

"The board, having consulted its advisers, has no hesitation in rejecting this wholly inadequate proposal as it substantially undervalues the unique strengths and market position of S&N," the UK brewer, led by chairman Sir Brian Stewart, said in a statement.

S&N has been seen as a bid target for some time now with Carlsberg long seen as the most likely suitor due to its joint ownership with S&N of the fast-growing BBH venture in Russia and eastern Europe.

Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive at Heineken, said: "The increased proposal represents a very attractive opportunity for S&N shareholders to obtain a price which is materially higher than the standalone value of the group."

And Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive at Carlsberg, added that the new offer gave S&N shareholders "the opportunity to secure a full and fair price for the entire business".

Jyske Bank analyst Jens Thomsen said: "The raised bid is not necessarily the last bid, but a bid meant to invite S&N's board to negotiate. The bid gives S&N an excuse to go to the negotiating table. Now they'll start to haggle."

Edinburgh-based S&N, which traces its roots back to 1749, has previously described the heavyweights' break-up proposals as "unsolicited and unwelcome".

Danish firm Carlsberg and Dutch brewer Heineken plan to carve up S&N if they succeed in their overtures for the business. Their approach is conditional on a board recommendation and extensive due diligence.

Heineken is looking to gain S&N's UK business and operations elsewhere in Europe. Carlsberg wants to take S&N's stake in their 50/50 Russian joint venture BBH, as well as the firm’s operations in France and Greece.

S&N, which is best known for making Foster's, Kronenbourg 1664 and John Smith's, has around 3300 staff in the UK, including more than 1000 in Edinburgh.

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