C&C Group and Greene King are vying to buy the Spirit Pub Company. C&C’s rival approach came only three days after Spirit had agreed in principle to a £723m takeover by Greene King and said that it would recommend a proposed 109.5p offer from the Loch Fyne and Hungry Horse chain owner who also own Belhaven Pubs.
C&C had its first offer rejected but has until 20 November to make another bid. Spirit has 1,200 pubs in the UK. C&C’s management team, Brian Stewart, Stephen Glancey and Kenny Neison all worked at S&N, and have experience of running a vertically integrated pub and long alcohol drinks business – not only that but the bulk of Spirit’s estate was once S&N managed estate. C&C say they strongly believe that a combination of C&C’s brands with Spirit’s highquality, well-located pub estate is the most effective way to optimise shareholder returns in a competitive UK market. However shareholders didn’t react well to the news with the value of C&C shares falling.
Spirit revealed last week that its its full-year pretax profit had grown by 11%. With C&C’s entry into the fray it is likely that other potential suitors will come out of the woodwork.