Heineken will take over the Foster’s, Strongbow cider and Newcastle Brown Ale brands from Scottish & Newcastle, as the battle to acquire the British brewer finally comes to an end.
S&N announced that its board had decided to sell its shares in the business to Carlsberg and Heineken for 7.6bn this morning (January 25). Under the proposed deal, Carlsberg is expected to fund 56% of the purchase, with its Dutch partner paying 44%.
Carlsberg will take over S&N’s French, Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese operations with Heineken taking over its remaining businesses, across the UK and Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, the US and India.
The deal will also give Heineken access to the UK cider market, reported to be growing at 18.6%.
Following the completion of the deal, S&N’s share of Baltic Beverage Holdings (BBH) the Eastern European brewing venture with Carlsberg that has been the a key part of the long-running takeover battle will transfer to Carlsberg.
For Carlsberg, the deal will deliver a major increase in its operational scale and long-term growth prospects, resulting in the creation of the “world’s fastest growing global beer company”. In addition to gaining control of BBH, a key growth asset, Carlsberg will enhance its position in Western Europe with complementary businesses in France and Greece.
Meanwhile, it is understood that City analysts have not ruled out the possibility of a counter bid from rivals such as Anheuser-Busch or SABMIller.