Foster's turned down offer by Whitbread

Foster's, the Australian brewing group selling its Courage division to Scottish & Newcastle,turned down a significantly higher offer for the group from Whitbread.

Yesterday's admission comes as the DTI was expected to wave through Scottish & Newcastle's pounds 425m offer in the next few days with minor conditions.

One of Foster's reasons for refusing the Whitbread offer is certain to raise eyebrows. It appears that a personality conflict between Foster's and Whitbread management made negotiations difficult.

One brewing analyst felt that the announcement of the snub was little more than sour grapes as Whitbread has been vociferous in trying to block the deal, consistently requesting that the bid be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Sir Michael Angus repeated the claims at Whitbread's annual meeting last month.

One analyst said: "It just sounds as though Foster's is getting its own back." Whitbread declined to comment.

Investors yesterday expressed concerns that further conditions may be attached to Scottish & Newcastle's bid before the deal wins DTI approval.

The DTI has already asked S&N for assurances that it will cut its tied estate by 115 pubs and a pledge to release half of the Inntrepreneur estate from their supply agreements.

Under the current terms, Inntrepreneur pubs must buy beer from Courage until March 1998. The revised timetable is that 500 pubs should be released by January, with the rest to follow a year later.

A further condition is that S&N must not increase the size of its tied- pub estate without agreement from the Office of Fair Trading. Rivals such as Whitbread have argued that S&N has got off lightly with the conditions. S&N shares fell 3p to 607p yesterday on fears that more may be added.

Whitbread says it pulled out of talks because it feared the conditions attached to its bid would be too onerous. Foster's says Whitbread only pulled out when Foster's told it to.

The Courage deal will enable S&N to become Britain's larg-est brewer, ahead of Bass with 22 per cent. After failing to buy Scottish & Newcastle, Harvester and Chef and Brewer, Whitbread is known to be keen to flex its muscles. This week, it has emerged as a favourite to bid for David Lloyd Leisure, the tennis club group run by the former Davis Cup player.

Market Report, page 21

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test