Wolves toasts victory in pounds 300m Marston battle

WOLVERHAMPTON & Dudley yesterday won the battle of the brewers, taking control of Marston Thompson & Evershed with a pounds 300m bid that could net its competitor's top managers a pounds 2m-plus payoff.

The acquisition will create Britain's largest regional brewer, with three breweries, almost 1,500 pubs - mainly in the North - and sales of around pounds 500m. The combined group will have a strong portfolio of beer brands centred on Marston's Pedigree bitter and W&D's Banks's ale.

W&D clinched the deal yesterday afternoon when its improved cash-and- paper offer of around 310p a share was accepted by almost three-quarters of Marston investors, many of whom also own shares in W&D. The result came after a bitter two-month bid war which saw Marston make a pounds 330m counteroffer for W&D.

W&D was supported by Greene King, another regional brewer, which agreed to buy 170 pubs in the South from the combined group for pounds 80m. Shares in Marston, owner of the Pitcher & Piano pub chain, rose 21.5p to 306.5p, while W&D closed 11.5p higher at 469p.

The sale of Marston is set to trigger the departure of its top management. The chairman, Michael Hurdle, is expected to leave after 35 years with the company with a total payoff, including share options, of around pounds 2m. Chief executive Nick Letchet, appointed from Bass 18 months ago, should net pounds 300,000.

David Thompson, W&D's managing director, said the victory was an "overwhelming endorsement of our strategy". He said the company would invest in its local pubs - which make up the bulk of its estate - in an attempt to combat tough trading conditions.

Mr Thompson said the link would create savings of around pounds 17m. However, W&D will have to pay over pounds 30m in fees to both parties' advisers and for Marston's failed attempt to securitise some of its pubs.

There will be around 250 job losses among the 15,000 combined workforce. Marston's headquarters in Burton-on-Trent will be closed, although the town's brewery will remain open alongside W&D's Hartlepool and Wolverhampton plants.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore