Punch Taverns gets takeover bid from Heineken

Heineken bottles Image copyright Getty Images

Punch Taverns, one of Britain's biggest pub owners, is considering two possible takeover offers.

Shares in Punch, which owns 3,300 about pubs, jumped by 38% to 177.7p following the announcement, valuing the company at £380m.

The first possible offer of 174p a share has come from the Dutch brewer Heineken, which already owns about 1,100 UK pubs.

The other approach, of 185p a share, is from Alan McIntosh, a Punch co-founder.

Mr McIntosh helped start Punch Taverns in 1997 and later led its stock market flotation, while working as its chief financial officer in 2002.

His investment vehicle, Emerald, said that along with other supportive shareholders it now controlled 2.2% of the shares in Punch and might make a cash offer for the company.

Punch said it was in discussions with both possible bidders, but added: "There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made by either [Heineken] or Emerald."

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association expressed "grave concerns" over the possible deals.

Its chief executive, Paul Waterson, said: "It would create a 'monster-tie'... that would destabilise an already fragile industry."

"It represents bad news for brewers, whose route to market will almost certainly be controlled by Heineken.

"It also signals bad news for drinkers who will be offered far less choice at the bar," he added.

Under UK takeover rules, both potential bidders have until 11 January to say if they will make a firm offer for Punch.

Last month Punch announced an annual profit of £60m after losing money for the previous two years.

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