Scottish & Newcastle has refused to be drawn on reports claiming that it is in talks with several parties with a view to take full control of its East European joint venture.

Newspaper reports over the weekend suggested that the UK brewer is in negotiations with fellow brewer Anheuser-Busch, as well as private equity funds Blackstone and Texas Pacific group to help fund the purchase of Carlsberg's 50% stake in Baltic Beverages Holding.

When contacted by just-drinks today (14 January), however, a spokesperson fro S&N would not comment on the speculation. "We identified in our presentation (regarding BBH) last week that we were expecting to find high quality interest (in making a joint move for BBH). There has been substantial interest," the spokesperson said, declining to comment more specifically on the matter.

In detailing its claims for BBH last week, S&N said: "(We) envisage introducing a new investor(s) to take a minority position in BBH of up to 25%."

S&N believes that Carlsberg's discussions with Heineken over acquiring the UK brewer have triggered the so-called 'shotgun clause' in their joint venture, a claim Carlsberg has dismissed.

The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is set to rule on the row in July. The institute's decision on the matter will be final and binding.

Depending on which side of the argument one listens to, BBH is valued at between GBP4.1bn (US$8.03bn) and GBP4.6bn.