Belfast Telegraph

Punch splits up pub estate amid Heineken and Patron Capital deal

Punch Taverns has agreed to carve up its pub estate as part of a takeover by Heineken and private equity firm Patron Capital.

The deal, which values Punch at £402.7 million, will see the Dutch beer giant snap up 1,895 pubs and Patron 1,329.

The duo successfully fought off a rival bid from the pub chain's co-founder Alan McIntosh with a 180p per share offer for the firm.

Punch said the deal has the blessing of its top three shareholders, representing 52.3% of the firm, and the company's directors intend to recommend that investors vote in favour of the deal.

Stephen Billingham, Punch chairman, said: "While the board did not solicit this offer for the company, we believe this is a good outcome for shareholders as the offer provides cash certainty at a significant premium."

Heineken will now expand its presence across the UK, with its Star Pubs & Bars business already boasting a portfolio of 1,100 British pubs.

Stefan Orlowski, regional Europe president for Heineken, said: "This transaction is a significant step forward in our strategy to unlock value in the UK pub market.

"Leveraging our extensive experience will enable us to realise increased potential from the pubs we are acquiring and deliver positive returns to our shareholders."

But the move is facing industry opposition, with the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) expressing "grave concerns" regarding the deal, saying it "signals bad news for drinkers who will be offered far less choice at the bar".

For its part, Patron said that it expects to continue to pursue key elements of the current Punch management team's strategy.

Punch shares were up 7.5% in afternoon trading.

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