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Stock sales put brewery in play

MANSFIELD BREWERY saw its share price soar to a 21-month high yesterday after plans for a large stock sell-off sparked speculation that the company could fall to a takeover. The board announced that it had been told by two charitable trusts owning 48 per cent of the company between them that they were considering selling their stakes.

Analysts said the shares sales, by FB Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and the FB Baily Thomas Provident Fund, could prompt a pounds 250m battle for control.