Whitbread uses Carlsberg to boost its bid for Allied

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The Independent Online
ALLIED DOMECQ and Whitbread yesterday launched a joint effort to bolster the Whitbread bid for Allied's 3,600 pub estate by claiming that Carlsberg would block any attempt by rival bidder, Punch to break up the estate.

An article which appeared yesterday in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and was circulated by the Whitbread camp claimed Carlsberg, which has a contract to supply beer to Allied until 2007, "can probably block the break-up of Allied which the entire bid is based on". A source close to Allied said that Carlsberg was likely to cast a shadow over the Punch bid where it will sell 650 of the Allied pubs to Bass if shareholders prefer it to the Allied board backed Whitbread bid.

"Carlsberg is saying that if part of the estate is passed to Bass it will require their consent. It looks to me like they're saying that consent should not be taken for granted," the source said.

However, Hugh Osmond, the chairman of Punch, said that he was well-aware of the contract between Allied and Carlsberg and that the Punch bid would not violate it.

"They can't win on the value argument so they sprinkle daft stories about Carlsberg. This contract has been around since 1997, we've known about it and I'm entirely comfortable," Mr Osmond said.

Bass shares closed down 1/2p at 942-1/2 yesterday, Whitbread were off 16p, while Allied ended off 7p at 600 in a lower London stock market.