Carlsberg has been pursuing Scottish & Newcastle "for years" ahead of this week's announcement that the Danish brewer is working with Heineken to make a bid for S&N, according to Carlsberg's former CEO.

In an interview with Danish financial daily Boersen yesterday (17 October), Nils Smedegaard Andersen, who left the company at the beginning of this month, said: "We have pursued S&N for years and tried to find the right solution. I think we found the answer in this structure.

"There is always a risk (of a counterbid), but I think there is a good chance that this will be bought at a reasonable price."

Carlsberg and Heineken confirmed yesterday that they are in early talks to make a bid for S&N. "It is currently intended that Carlsberg will ultimately acquire Scottish & Newcastle's interest in (S&N's joint venture with Carlsberg) Baltic Beverages Holding, France and Greece and that Heineken will ultimately assume control of Scottish & Newcastle's business in the UK and other European markets," the brewers said.

"It makes sense to break up S&N like this," Andersen continued. "Therefore I am sure that this will be a good cooperation (with Heineken)."

Andersen left Carlsberg on 1 October to become group CEO of AP Møller-Mærsk. He was replaced by Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, who told just-drinks in September that the brewer "can't say definitely no or yes" to a potential bid for S&N.