British leisure group Whitbread is reported to be about to sell its brewing business to its Belgian rival, Interbrew, for an estimated £400-450m. Whitbread’s brewing assets include Boddingtons, Flowers, Mackeson, Murphy’s and Wadworth 6X. Interbrew has refused to confirm or deny the report. A spokesman said: “If an agreement has been reached then it will be communicated. That applies also with any so-called pending problems, when they have been solved.” It is understood complex legal problems could delay any announcement of a deal. Family-owned Interbrew, which plans to float by the end of the year, already licenses Whitbread to brew its flagship Stella Artois lager in Britain. The report comes as Whitbread is preparing to launch a new lager – “GB” – made exclusively from British ingredients.

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