Scottish & Newcastle has launched a blistering attack on Carlsberg, following last week's announcement that the Danish brewer is in talks with Heineken to break up S&N.

The UK-based company, which controls the Eastern European brewer Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH) jointly with Carlsberg, said late last week that it considered any approach from Carlsberg and Heineken as "unsolicited and unwelcome". S&N is reportedly dismayed that Carlsberg made the talks public before approaching S&N privately.

Speaking to just-drinks yesterday (22 October), a spokesperson for S&N referred to Carlsberg as "our former partner".

"We're pretty unhappy with our former partner," the spokesperson said. "Currently, our only contact with Carlsberg is limited to operational contact regarding BBH.

"There's no going back," he continued. "The way this has been handled (by Carlsberg) is entirely inappropriate. Their approach has been both incompetent and dishonourable."

Reports over the weekend suggested that S&N was mulling selling off its stake in BBH, thereby torpedoing Carlsberg and Heineken's potential approach. "We're keeping all our options open in terms of BBH," the spokesperson told just-drinks. "Carlsberg know the value of BBH, and so do we.

"Our priority is to protect our shareholders' value."

Carlsberg and Heineken are widely expected to table a bid for S&N before the end of this month.