Heineken in bidding for Britain’s Punch Taverns pub chain

Front of the Heineken Experience - a popular tourist attraction in AmsterdamDutch Brewer Heineken has emerged as part of one group in bidding for Punch Taverns, a British group which operates some 3,300 public houses, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday.

Two parties are in the bidding for the UK’s second-biggest pub operator. Punch said it had received a ‘proposal’ from Patron Capital Advisers, working with Heineken, about a possible cash offer of 174 pence per share, and ‘an approach’ from Emerald Investment Partners about a possible cash offer at 185 pence per share, Reuters new agency added.

If Heineken’s offer is accepted it would make the Dutch brewer the second-largest pub operator in Britain with about 3,000 pubs after market leader Enterprise Inns which operates 4,500 public houses, Reuters explained.

Heineken already has 1,100 pubs and Punch said Heineken would acquire about 1,900 of its pubs from Patron immediately after a takeover, with Patron keeping more than 1,300 sites.

The British pub industry has struggled for years with declining customers, due partly to the smoking ban and increased competition from restaurants and supermarkets.

There were 50,800 pubs in Britain last year, the British Beer and Pub Association says, down from 67,800 in 1982.

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