Family of hanged girl rejects verdict

THE FAMILY of a teenage girl found hanging from a tree after an apparent rejection by her boyfriend may seek to have the suicide verdict on her death reviewed, her mother's lawyers said yesterday.

Food & Drink: Clearing out the cupboard

RICHARD EHRLICH'S BEVERAGE REPORT

Eating England: No 13: Herefordshire - Where the cider - and life - is rosy

There's no better time than the season of mists to explore, and feast on, a land of mellow fruitfulness

Travel: An all-consuming time in Normandy

Who would become `le plus gros mangeur de Livarot'? In the land of cheese and cider, Hugh O'Shaughnessy joins an eating contest

Media: Beware all slacker ads: you may have been Tango'd

The vogue for idle thoughts has not always been accompanied by hard thinking.

Bulmer buys US cider firm

HP BULMER, makers of Strongbow and Woodpecker ciders, yesterday announced a major expansion in the US with the $14.4m (pounds 8.7m) cash acquisition of Green Mountain Cidery, writes Francesco Guerrera.

Counselling: Auntie ag and uncle ony

UNWELCOME ADVANCES

Merrydown back from the brink with pounds 7m rescue plan

MERRYDOWN, the beleaguered cider maker, has pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy by announcing an emergency pounds 7m fund-raising, a radical restructuring and the appointment of a new chief executive.

New sparkle for cider

HP Bulmer, the UK's largest cider maker, is to launch a multi- million-pound advertising campaign to revamp the image of Strongbow, its leading brand, Andrew Yates writes.

Market Report: Bulmer leaps further on rumours of French interest

MENTION cider, and you conjure up warm images of farmers, orchards and the rolling hills of the West Country. Unless you happen to be talking to an investor, in which case cider is synonymous with sliding share prices.

Bulmer may sue Matthew Clark over new-look cider

BRITAIN'S two biggest cider makers could become embroiled in a legal battle over best selling brands. HP Bulmer, the market leader, is considering suing Matthew Clark over its arch-rival's new look Dry Blackthorn brand. It is concerned that Dry Blackthorn now bears close resemblance to Strongbow, its own best-selling cider.

Bulmer warns on profits after cheap beer knocks cider sales

THE beleaguered cider industry was dealt a fresh blow yesterday after HP Bulmer, the UK's biggest cider maker, admitted that Christmas sales had fallen sharply. Shares in the group tumbled 96p to 310p after the group warned that profits for the current financial year are likely to be around 25 per cent lower than the pounds 29.3m it made in the year to April 1997.

Come again, Lord Archer

SOMETIMES you wonder. Lord Jeffrey Archer turned up for a meeting of Stonewall, the jolly sensible gay group, at the House of Commons last week. What on earth could he have been doing there? Creevey's scouts report that he spent 15 minutes talking to Stephen Twigg, asking tomfool questions like, "Is your constituency one of those we need to win?" Evidently, he did not recognise the young Fabian (no cunctator, he) who ousted Michael Portillo last May. Considering that the peer of Weston- super-Mare is very keen to exhibit his metropolitan credentials - in the extraordinary event that the voters of London might want to make him their Mayor - this smacks of political amateurism. He will always be Mare, but the chances of him being Mayor are receding faster than the Bristol Channel.

Merrydown shares slump as takeover talks fail

Shares in Merrydown crashed 7p to an all-time low of 47.5p after the troubled Sussex-based cider maker announced that potential takeover talks had come to nothing. Several rivals are understood to have run a slide rule over the group but decided against a bid, or were not willing to offer a high enough price for the group.

Matthew Clark fails to find a buyer

Matthew Clark, the troubled cider company that includes Diamond White and Dry Blackthorn, has failed to attract a buyer despite an attempt to encourage takeover interest. The news raises doubts about the group's future, according to City sources.
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