The UK brewer and pub owner Scottish & Newcastle has put a deadline of September 30 to receive final offers for its 1,450-pub estate, which it is auctioning off for an estimated £2.5 billion.

There are there bidders left in the auction process, the pubs groups Laurel and Spirit, and CVC-Cinven, a private equity pairing.

Although all three are thought to have bid around the £2.5bn, Laurel, which is owned by Deutsche Bank's private equity arm and runs just over 600 ex-Whitbread pubs, is seen as the favourite.