Allied still open to rival bids

ALLIED DOMECQ, the drinks group which is trying to sell its pubs, is to give bidders more time to top Whitbread's bid after talks with the pub and brewing giant hit difficulties.

It is understood that Punch Taverns, the privately owned group that owns 1,800 pubs, will have longer than the usual 21 days to come up with a higher offer for Allied's 3,600 outlets once the deal is announced.

The concession comes after a series of delays in the completion of Whitbread's offer. An announcement was due last week but has been put off until Wednesday. One source said: "It's next week or never."

Hugh Osmond, Punch Taverns chief, believes he can come up with a higher offer.

Analysts also consider that Bass, the leisure group which has also expressed an interest, would be able to out-bid Whitbread based on it superior potential for cost savings. Allied shareholders would then have to choose between the bids.

There are signs that Allied has become more open to the interest of rival bidders, following earlier criticism of its decision to enter exclusive negotiations with Whitbread. Mr Osmond has been especially critical of Allied's conduct after having had his own approach for the pubs rejected just days before news broke last month of the talks with Whitbread.

Punch and other interested parties are also expected to gain access to the confidential information which Whitbread has been able to study, notably details of Allied's supply agreement with Carlsberg-Tetley and the tax implications of any deal. While Whitbread's all-share offer for the pubs would be exempt from capital gains tax, any cash bid from Punch would incur a major liability. Mr Osmond denies that this is an obstacle to a knockout bid.

Punch last week confirmed that Texas Pacific, the US buy-out specialist, had bought a 70 per cent stake in the venture. Texas Pacific is understood to be committed to Punch's interest in Allied's estate. Two other venture capitalists, CVC Capital Partners and Legal & General Ventures, are also thought to be interested in backing Punch.

Victory for Whitbread would force it to dispose of its brewing division. Whitbread would also acquire First Quench, the off-licence chain, and it would become the country's biggest landlord with 7,600 pubs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Exciting career prospect for ...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935