Punch vows to trump Whitbread's Allied deal

PUNCH TAVERNS, the pubs group led by Hugh Osmond, yesterday intervened to spoil Allied Domecq's pounds 2.42bn agreed sale of 3,500 pubs to Whitbread, claiming it was confident it could trump the offer.

The sale was announced by Allied Domecq yesterday after weeks of bitter wrangling with Whitbread over terms. As the deal was announced, Tony Hales, chief executive of Allied Domecq for eight years, announced he was leaving the group.

Punch attacked a decision by the two groups to retain exclusivity on the deal until completion, expected on 2 August. Information will not be made available to third parties, except for listing particulars to be published in the next two weeks.

Mr Osmond said: "Punch believes the business is worth in excess of the Whitbread offer. If other bidders are given access to the same information as Whitbread, we are confident that Allied shareholders will get a significantly better price."

Punch was yesterday rumoured to be linking up with Bass, Whitbread's arch-rival, to mount a counter-bid of up to pounds 3bn. Executives at Bass said they were continuing to watch the latest development with interest.

If shareholders approve the Whitbread deal at an egm on 2 July, it will create the UK's largest leisure company with over 10,000 retail outlets including pubs, hotels, active leisure and off-licences. Whitbread will gain control of the Firkin, Mr Q and Big Steak pub brands.

The announcement re-kindled speculation of a tie-up between Allied Domecq and the Canadian drinks group Seagram, allowing the combined group to compete with the world's biggest drinks company, Diageo. Allied is widely expected to dispose of its remaining retail outlets, including the Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins chains.

The Whitbread deal includes the sale of a 50 per cent stake in First Quench, the off-licence chain formed from the merger of Victoria Wine and Thresher's, already half-owned by Whitbread. Allied will also sell its 25 per cent interest in Britannia Soft, the holding company for Britvic.

Whitbread is offering to distribute 230 million newly-issued shares, or 0.22 new shares for each share held in Allied Domecq, giving Allied Domecq shareholders a 32 per cent stake in the new Whitbread group.

Whitbread will seek to de-merge its brewing division - expected to fetch pounds 300m - to meet regulations on tied public houses. Shares in Allied Domecq jumped 24p to 576.5p while shares in Whitbread closed 26p up at 1040p.

The City welcomed Whitbread's offer, which promises benefits of pounds 100m a year made up of pounds 60m in cost savings and pounds 40m in trading benefits. Executives declined to estimate the number of job losses and refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. Mr Hales, who will leave the group when the deal is completed, is in line for a pay-off of around pounds 1m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Affiliates & Partnerships

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor