Wolves bid period extended

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The Independent Online
THE OFFER period for Wolverhampton & Dudley's pounds 262m hostile bid for rival brewer Marston, Thompson & Evershed has been extended after Wolves received acceptances from just 0.89 per cent of the share capital.

The deadline has been extended until 1pm on 29 January. The next key date is Friday which - as Day 39 under Takeover Panel rules - is the last day for Marstons final defence document.

Marston shares closed 2p higher at 289.5p, compared to the offer price of 282p. Wolves shares closed a penny higher at 427.5p.

Marstons has been fighting a rearguard action against the Wolves bid. It received a setback just before Christmas when Greene King, the Suffolk brewer which had been tipped as a possible White Knight, struck a deal with Wolves under which is will buy a batch of over 100 pubs if the bid proves successful.

This follows an unsuccessful attempt by Marstons to raise pounds 137m through the securitisation of its tenanted pub estate. The move was blocked by shareholders who wanted more time to consider the Wolves bid.

Marstons wants to use the proceeds from the sale to concentrate on adding to its Pitcher & Piano chain of managed bars.