Molson and Coors have introduced a sweetener for Molson shareholders should their proposed merger get the green light. The two brewers have also postponed their shareholder meetings to vote on the move.

"Molson Inc. and Adolph Coors Company today (13 January) announced that, in connection with the previously announced merger of the two companies, they have agreed to increase the special dividend to Molson shareholders as part of the transaction," the two companies said yesterday.

Pentland Securities (1981) Inc., a company owned by Eric and Stephen Molson and controlled by Eric, has once again agreed to waive any participation in the special dividend.

Molson Class A non-voting and Class B common shareholders, excluding Pentland, will receive C$5.44 per share, an increase of C$2.18 per share over the previously announced special dividend of C$3.26 per share, or a total of approximately C$640m (US$532m), payable as part of the plan of arrangement to Molson shareholders of record as of the last trading day immediately prior to the date of closing of the merger transaction.

"Had Pentland not agreed to waive participation in the special dividend, the special dividend would have been C$5.00 per share," they said. The payment has been approved by both companies' boards of directors. The other terms of the proposed merger transaction will remain as previously announced.

"Pentland remains totally committed to the merger and our decision to once again agree to waive participation in the special dividend is a testament of that. As shareholders with a controlling interest and a long-term view, we believe the merger with Coors provides the best business opportunity for Molson to be a proactive player in the global beer market," said Eric H. Molson, chairman of the board of Molson.

Molson also said that its special meeting of shareholders scheduled for Wednesday (19 January) will be adjourned, and reconvened on 28 January at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 900 Rene-Levesque Boulevard West, Montreal, Quebec, at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Time. The record date of 22 November last year to determine those Molson shareholders entitled to vote at the special meeting remains unchanged.

Coors' special meeting of stockholders, scheduled for the same day will be convened as planned at 9:00 a.m., Mountain Time, and then immediately adjourned. The meeting is expected to be reconvened on February 1 at Coors Brewing Company in the Sixth Floor Auditorium in the Brewery Complex, 12th and Ford Streets, Golden, Colorado, at 9:00 a.m., Mountain Time. The record date of 22 November last year to determine those Coors stockholders entitled to vote at the special meeting also remains unchanged.