Heineken packs Punch with £400m takeover deal

Brewery adds to its pub business, but share price surge suggests investors believe a counterbid is on the way

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Heineken has secured a takeover deal for pub operator Punch Taverns, alongside private equity investor Patron Capital.

The Dutch brewery will take on 1,900 of the chain's 3,200 bars around the country, adding to the 1,100 it already owns through its Star Pubs and Bars business.

Patron will take on the remaining 1,300 pubs, after fronting the whole £400m transaction and then splitting the business and selling on the larger portion to Heineken.

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Sky News, which first revealed the takeover talks earlier this week, says the bidders fought off "a rival proposal from Punch co-founder Alan McIntosh".

The Daily Telegraph reports that Punch's share price surged nearly eight per cent on Thursday to 191p, where it remained this afternoon. That's above the 180p agreed purchase price and values the business at around £450m.

That suggests traders "expect a counterbid to emerge", says the paper, most likely from McIntosh's investment vehicle Emerald.

"Although it has made an 185p a share approach for Punch, which is higher than Heineken's, it has not tabled a firm offer and, according to Punch, has yet to secure financing," it adds.

The Heineken bid has been under discussion for the better part of a year, Punch chairman Stephen Billingham said yesterday.

He added: “It's a simple reason: the Heineken-Patron offer has maturity which is available to the shareholders to accept, whereas the Emerald offer does not have that degree of maturity and there is uncertainty over the source of the funding.

"The fact that over 50 per cent of the register has already signed up is an indication that this deal offers good value to shareholders."

Punch has been disposing of assets to streamline the business in recent years and last month posted a profit of £60m, its first since 2013, says the BBC.

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