Punch Taverns takeover: Heineken and pub entrepreneur Alan McIntosh in bidding war

 
Tracey Boles
FRANCE-ALCOHOL-FEATURE
Shares in Punch soared as news of the two approaches emerged, ending the day nearly 38 per cent up at 177p (Source: Getty)

Punch Taverns is in the midst of a takeover tussle between Heineken and Alan McIntosh, an entrepreneur who was one of the pub company’s founders.

Shares in Punch soared as news of the two approaches emerged, ending the day nearly 38 per cent up at 177p.

Yesterday morning, City A.M. revealed that McIntosh has tabled a cash proposal of 185p per share for Punch Taverns. This would value the company at £410m.

However, his vehicle Emerald Investment Partners is up against Dutch brewing giant Heineken and its private equity partner Patron Capital Advisers, which are in more advanced talks for the company.

They have made a possible cash offer of 174p a share for Punch.

The two interested parties have until 11 January to make firm offers.

Punch Taverns said: “The Patron proposal is conditional on, among other things, the recommendation of the board. The board is in advanced discussions with Patron and Heineken regarding the Patron proposal.

“The [rival] Emerald Proposal is conditional on, among other things, arranging committed financing, confirmatory due diligence, and the recommendation of the board.”

Emerald, a London-based family investment office set up by McIntosh in 2012, currently owns 2.2 per cent of Punch shares.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Punch Taverns at centre of bid battle

It is thought he has already contacted other shareholders regarding the proposal.

Punch was formed in 1997 and has a nationwide portfolio of around 3,300 pubs, making it one of the UK’s biggest pub chains.

Any tie-up between Heineken, which already owns 1,100 leased pubs, and Punch would likely face close scrutiny from competition regulators. The Emerald proposal would not face this hurdle.

Yesterday, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association called for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to scrutinise the potential Heineken deal.

Its CEO Paul Waterson said: “We have grave concerns about the announcement and urge the attention of the CMA. It would create a ‘monster-tie’; a chain of over 4,400 pubs 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.”

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