Taunton says talks might lead to bid

NIGEL COPE

Taunton Cider, Britain's second-largest cider group which is best known for the Diamond White and Dry Blackthorn brands, announced yesterday that it was in talks that might lead to a bid for the company.

The shares rose 16 per cent to 212.5p, valuing Taunton at pounds 233m. It declined to give further details of the bid discussions, but said the talks involved "material pre-conditions".

City analysts believe the most likely candidate to buy Taunton is Matthew Clark, the drinks group that acquired the Gaymer cider and Babycham business in a pounds 109m deal last October.

Gaymer is thought to be too small to compete effectively against the dominant two players in the UK cider market.

HP Bulmer is the market leader, with 45 per cent, followed by Taunton with 33 per cent and Gaymers with 11 per cent. The acquisition of Taunton would transform Matthew Clark into joint market leader and enable it to compete with Bulmers' marketing and distribution muscle.

There is also a boardroom connection between the two companies. Matthew Clark's chairman, Michael Cottrell, was also chairman of Taunton until last year but stepped down when Clark's acquired Gaymer. Matthew Clark's shares closed 9p down at 659p.

Bulmer, best known for its Strongbow brand, may also be interested but would encounter competition problems because it would then control nearly 80 per cent of the market.

Whitbread, the brewing and leisure group, is another possibility, though it has a distribution deal with rival cider maker Merrydown.

Britain's cider market has been under intense pressure from cheaper own- label brands. One of Taunton' strengths is that in addition to its branded portfolio, which includes premium ciders such as Red Rock, it is also the biggest seller of own-label cider to supermarkets.

Suggested Topics
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

Guru Careers: Research Associate / Asset Management Research Analyst

£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...

Ashdown Group: Chief Technology Officer (CTO) - Glasgow

£90000 - £98000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportu...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative