Heineken's Takeover of 1900 Punch Pubs Cleared by UK's CMA

Marco Green
August 18, 2017

In February, Punch shareholders overwhelmingly voted to back the deal that would see Heineken and Patron Capital, using Newco Vine Acquisitions as a bidding vehicle, acquire Punch.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had opened an investigation into the takeover and found 33 local areas where the deal could reduce competition.

At the end of previous year, private equity firm Patron Capital Advisers agreed to purchase Punch Taverns through Vine Acquisitions, with Heineken lined up to acquire the majority of the Punch pubs. Heineken was to pay £305m to buy around 1,900 of the Punch-branded pubs, adding to the 1,100 United Kingdom pubs that it already owns.

Shares of Punch Taverns, which are valued at 180p under the terms of the takeover, were unchanged at 179.25p.

The CMA said it is satisfied that its concerns have been addressed and has therefore decided that the merger won't be referred for an in-depth phase-two investigation. The purchase adds to the 1,049 taverns Heineken controls in the United Kingdom through its Star Pubs & Bars business.

It's been rumbling on for the best part of 2017, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now given the go-ahead for Heineken's takeover of Punch.

The CMA, however, had previously rejected claims that the deal could close off an important distribution channel for brewers which compete with Heineken. So in June, Heineken offered to sell dozens of Punch Taverns pubs to address the concerns.

A Heineken spokesman said the Dutch brewer expects to complete the deal by the end of this month.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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