Blog: Olly WehringThe S&N rumour mill spins a little faster

Olly Wehring | 2 July 2007

The rumbling speculation surrounding Scottish & Newcastle and Carlsberg got a little louder last week. Although sceptics amongst you would be justified in pointing out that there is little there that we haven’t all heard before, the feeling here in just-drinks Towers is that there is more meat to the rumours this time round.

Of course, responding to reports that a “major deal is likely”, a spokesperson for Carlsberg remained staunchly tight-lipped when contacted by just-drinks. S&N’s “business as usual” quote, meanwhile, has been used so many times, the needle feels like it’s stuck on the record.

And yet, those in the know still believe that something is in the water here. In a research note, investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort suggested the likelihood of an acquisition of S&N by Carlsberg is at 70%. The key piece in the jigsaw is the Baltic Beverage Holding joint venture between the two brewers. The bank highlighted the delicate nature of the ‘Russian roulette’ clause in the companies’ BBH agreement and why this may be the trigger for a full takeover bid.

“The only way for Carlsberg to be certain of keeping its 50% stake in BBH is to own 100%,” Dresdner Kleinwort said. “The only way to get 100% is to buy S&N.”

Sounds like S&N may have to prepare volume two of ‘The Best of Business as Usual’.


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