Whitbread abandons Allied bid

WHITBREAD YESTERDAY withdrew its bitterly-contested bid for the 3,600 strong Allied Domecq pub estate, leaving the way clear for Punch Taverns to win the battle.

The decision followed Tuesday's shock announcement that the bid would be referred to the Competition Commission. Although Whitbread confirmed that its bid would be withdrawn and would not fall under the Competition Commission's scrutiny the group said it was still seeking clarification from the Office of Fair Trading about why the situation had arisen. A spokesman said: "We no longer know what the rules of the game are and until we do we are no longer playing." Last night the Allied Board of Allied Domecq was locked in a meeting to discuss how to proceed on the Punch bid while speculation continued that Punch may now reduce its offer.

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