Vaux investors cool on break-up attempts

INSTITUTIONAL investors in Vaux, the troubled Sunderland brewer, are backing the board's strategy of selling off the brewing operations to the chairman's brother, though they expect the group to fall to a break- up bid.

Though major investors are not actively pushing for a deal, they see the removal of the problematic brewing operations as clearing the way for a bid for the rump which contains the valuable Swallow Hotels chain.

Whitbread is thought to be running the slide rule over the group. Stakis, which has just agreed to a pounds 1.2bn takeover by Ladbroke, is also understood to still be in touch with Vaux after its approach to the company last year. Swallow Hotels would fit within Ladbroke's plans and it has emerged that Ladbroke also looked at Vaux late last year. However, Stakis was Ladbroke's main target and it is thought the group will concentrate on integrating the chain into its Hilton hotels operation before making any further hotels acquisitions.

The continued support of major institutions, which include Phillips & Drew and Britannic, will be a relief to the rump of the Vaux board still shell-shocked by the sacking of the chief executive and finance director earlier this seek.

They left after going behind the board's back to shareholders after they were outvoted on the decision to grant Frank Nicholson a four week exclusive negotiating period on buying the brewing operations.

There had been speculation that shareholders might express concern over the terms of the proposed agreement with Mr Nicholson. The deal includes a five-year beer supply agreement, though the terms are not thought to be overly onerous.

Investors also dispute suggestions that the proposed pounds 80m deal with Mr Nicholson is an under-valuation. They say the board feared that the alternatives could have been worse. The disposal committee, led by the non-executive directors, were concerned that if Vaux sanctioned plans to close the Sunderland brewery, which employs 600 workers, it might provoke a local backlash. They feared a possible boycott of its pubs - the impact of which would be unquantifiable.

Vaux shares closed 3p lower at 298.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect