Whitbread strikes back at Punch `vandal' gibe

ALLIED DOMECQ will today decide whether to recommend Punch Taverns' raised pounds 2.875bn cash offer for its pub estate after Whitbread yesterday sought to bolster its share price to support its recommended cash and shares bid worth pounds 2.83bn. Punch's offer expires at midnight.

Whitbread attacked Punch's suggestions that its bid would "vandalise" shareholder value. It accused Punch of creating uncertainty in an attempt to depress its shares. "Whitbread is confident this offer is creating value for the company and will be earnings enhancing in the first full financial year after completion," the company said in a statement. "Whitbread's offer is also underpinned by our legally binding contract with Allied Domecq. Allied Domecq shareholders are the real judges of value."

A Whitbread spokesman added: "Punch has tried to cast doubt on the wisdom of what we're doing. We have to meet their criticisms because they have an effect on the share price."

A spokesman for Punch said: "It's a tired response from tired people. The one thing we agree on is that Allied Domecq shareholders will be the real judges of value."

The City failed to deliver a clear verdict on Whitbread's raised offer on Friday, which came within an hour of the market's close. "There was Wimbledon and it was Henley Friday. It's not like every fund manager who would make a decision was there. [Today] is an important day," said a Whitbread spokesman.

Whitbread's shares closed up 9p at 1001p in thin trading. A strengthening of its shares today would put pressure on Punch Taverns to further raise its bid to secure a recommendation from Allied's board.

An Allied insider said yesterday: "There will be meetings on Monday [today]. One needs to look at what the Whitbread shareprice does and how Punch reacts to that."

Whitbread is not ruling out taking Allied to court for "loss of transaction", which could result in a significant damages award, if it backed Punch's bid. A switch of recommendation by Allied would also generate a pounds 25m fee to Whitbread.

David Reed, Whitbread's director of corporate affairs, said: "Whitbread is more interested in doing a deal than in going to court."

Meanwhile, Punch again advertised its resolve in its bid for the pubs. "If a little tweaking of the offer is necessary we can do that," said its spokesman.

Mr Reed said: "We're not playing the `mine's bigger than yours' game."

The upping of Whitbread's earlier pounds 2.3bn paper offer on Friday followed a search by the group's pub operators for additional cost savings, said to have boosted the deal's annual cost savings from pounds 100m within three years to at least pounds 125m. Punch dismissed the idea Whitbread had unearthed new savings. "They can't have found anything new after five months," it said.

Both sides also said the other's offer risked being blocked by the Office of Fair Trading.

Whitbread admitted it may be required to reduce its concentration in certain licensing districts to meet OFT concerns. "If Whitbread is so confident of receiving OFT approval, why has it not made its offer unconditional?" Punch said.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution