Pub chain Marston's shares jump on takeover news

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British pub giant Marston's says it has received an "unsolicited" takeover offer from US private equity firm Platinum Equity Advisors.

Marston's said it was evaluating the proposal with its advisers and a further announcement would be made in due course.

Shares in the pub chain jumped almost 20% on the news.

Marston's added there could be "no certainty that any firm offer will be made for the company".

Platinum Equity Advisors has made the offer for Marston's as the pub chain's share price languished close to a low not seen for more than 20 years.

When the London Stock Exchange closed on Thursday, shares in Marston's were changing hands for 74.80p each. That makes the pub chain look relatively cheap compared to this time last year when shares were 104p each.

All of Marston's 1,368 pubs across the country remain closed because of the coronavirus lockdown. In October, Marston's said it would axe up to 2,150 furloughed jobs because of the rolling lockdowns.

The hospitality sector has been particularly heavily affected by government restrictions, which have forced pubs, restaurants and hotels to close their doors.

Earlier this month, Marston's reported revenues of just £54m for the final three months of last year, which includes the all important Christmas period when hospitality firms traditionally earn the money they need to get through January, which is typically quiet.

That was a dramatic fall from the £1.2bn it earned in the same period a year earlier.

Last year, Marston's combined its brewing operations with Carlsberg UK in a £780m merger. And in December, Marston's agreed to take over the running of all 156 pubs owned by Brains, the largest brewer in Wales.

Brains said restrictions during the pandemic had put the business under "significant financial pressure", adding that the move would safeguard 1,300 jobs.

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