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C&C joins bidding war for UK pub group

Irish cider maker C&C has seen a surprise initial takeover bid for the UK’s Spirit Pub Company rejected in favour of an earlier, lower bidder.

One of the pubs in Spirit’s Chef & Brewer chain

The move came just days after Spirit, which operates 1,200 managed or leased pubs across the UK, agreed to recommend a lower offer from rival pub group Greene King to its shareholders.

Reports indicate that C&C had offered a deal worth around 115p per share, compared to the package equivalent to 109.5p per share that was put forward by Greene King.

Should the proposed deal with Greene King go ahead, it would create the UK’s largest managed pub group, bringing together Spirit brands such as Chef & Brewer and Taylor Walker with Greene King’s 1,900 outlet portfolio, which includes the Loch Fyne and Hungry Horse chains.

By contrast, C&C, which produces brands including Magners, Tennent’s and Bulmers, has no pub estate, leading some to question the synergy it would offer to Spirit’s business.

In a statement released today, the Irish group explained that such a deal would secure a “strengthened route to market for C&C’s long alcohol drinks brands in the on-trade across England and Wales”.

C&C now has until 20 November to make a revised firm offer for Spirit, while Greene King must confirm its own bid by 30 October.

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