Carlsberg has today launched a bid for Holsten, Germany's second-largest brewer. The Danish brewer has entered into conditional agreements to acquire 51% of the share capital in Holsten at €38 per share from the Eisenbeiss family and other parties. Carlsberg Breweries will make a voluntary public offer at the same price to buy all outstanding shares. The offer price values the company at €523 million based on 13.75 million issued Holsten shares.

Carlsberg also announced that an agreement has been made to sell the breweries of König-Brauerei in Duisburg and Licher Privatbrauerei in Lich to the Bitburger Group at a price of €469 million on an enterprise value basis. Furthermore, Carlsberg has been granted an option which provides Holsten with the right to sell its 65% shareholding in mineral water companies at an implied enterprise value of €159 million. This means Holsten will be in a position to on-sell assets at a total enterprise value of €628 million.

Following the divestments, Carlsberg will be the leading brewer in the north of Germany and the fifth largest brewery group in Germany.

Carlsberg will keep the Holsten brewery in Hamburg and four other Holsten breweries with a total production capacity of 7.9m hectolitres of beer, the internationally-renowned beer brand Holsten and regional beer brands such as Lübzer, Feldschlösschen, Astra, Landskron and the speciality brand Duckstein.

In a statement, a Carlsberg spokesperson said: "An important strategic goal of Carlsberg Breweries is to strengthen and develop its main brands, particularly the Carlsberg brand. Holsten's strong distribution network and sales force in Germany offers a platform through which the Carlsberg and Tuborg brands will be able to expand.

"In addition, Holsten's existing international presence will further enhance Carlsberg Breweries' export and licence business. By including the Holsten brand in Carlsberg-Tetley's distribution network, the UK business will be strengthened."

In December last year, Holsten brought talk of its potential sale to a close by announcing that it had been unable to find a new buyer for a majority stake in the company. The Geman brewer said: "There has been no concrete approach that would have been to the benefit of the company, shareholders or employees." A report earlier in the month claimed that Carlsberg and Bitburger Brauerei were planning a joint takeover of Holsten. The report said that a bid of over €550m (US$658.8m) had been received by Holsten's largest shareholder, Christian Eisenbeiss.