Industry concerns raised over Heineken's Punch move

Fears have been expressed in Scotland about one of two takeover approaches revealed yesterday for Punch Taverns, the major British pub groups.

Heineken already owns about 1,100 pubs across the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), said the body had “grave concerns” about the £386 million bid involving brewing giant Heineken and private equity partner Patron Capital Advisers to carve up nearly 3,300 Punch pubs between them.

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He said it would create a “monster-tie” with Heineken, which already owns about 1,100 British pubs, and was “bad news for brewers, whose route to market will almost certainly be controlled by Heineken”.

The SLTA has urged that the deal be referred to the Competition & Markets Authority.

The Patron/Heineken proposal is worth 174p a share. A rival £410m approach from Punch’s co-founder Alan McIntosh via Emerald Investment Partners is pitched at 185p per share.

It is understood that if a takeover deal is struck alongside Patron Capital, Heineken would take control of 1,940 Punch pubs, while the private equity group would take on 1,330. A deal would bring Heineken’s total UK pub portfolio to about 3,040.

McIntosh, together with Emerald Investment Partners, currently holds a 2.2 per cent stake in Punch Taverns.