Interbrew bid could spark Bass sell-off

Caffrey’s and Grolsch are among the beer brands likely to be sold off if Interbrew’s £2.2bn bid for Bass’ brewing interests is accepted, as expected later this week.

The deal would follow Interbrew’s £400m purchase of Whitbread’s beer division and would hand the company the dominant position in the UK market, with an estimated share of 36 per cent.

Analysts expect the deal to be announced on Friday. Interbrew’s global rival, Heineken, refused to comment on speculation that it has dropped out of the race for Bass.

Analysts say that any deal with Interbrew is likely to be referred to the Competition Commission, which may result in it having to sell off non-core brands.

Among those tipped to be auctioned off are Grolsch, which is brewed under licence by Bass in the UK, Caffrey’s Worthington, Stones bitter and Bass Ale. Some industry observers have even earmarked Boddingtons, from the Whitbread portfolio, as a possible target for sell-off.

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