Talks to sell the majority stake in Brau und Brunnen have run aground. Germany's fourth-biggest brewery announced yesterday that HypoVereinsbank (HVB) has pulled out of talks with US investment firm One Equity Partners (OEP). The bank will keep hold of its 62% stake in the brewery for the time being.

At a press conference, Michael Hollmann, chief of Brau und Brunnen, told reporters that the talks had broken down, "not on the question of price, but as a result of the behaviour of the would-be buyers." HVB had announced in the middle of October that it was negotiating the sale of its majority stake, and that talks would be concluded by the end of the year.

OEP had also been in simultaneous talks with Oetker, the German food group and owner of rival brewery Radeberger, over a possible dismantling of Brau und Brunnen once the purchase had gone through.

Brau und Brunnen last year generated sales of €578m (US$693m) with a workforce of 2,400.