Heineken has assured Punch tenants they will not be forced to buy only Heineken products after Punch shareholders overwhelmingly backed the Heineken/Patron bid to take over the company in a £402m deal.
In aq meeting on 10 February, 99.62% of shareholders voted in favour of the proposal with just 0.38% against. Heineken said it was “delighted” the deal had been accepted.
Heineken and Patron Capital has agreed a deal with Punch under new company Vine Acquisitions to acquire the entire company and to issue share capital of the company for 180p per share.
Heineken will acquire about 1,900 Punch pubs with Patron retaining an additional 1,329 that it will run itself.
Heineken has also pledged to work with SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) to ensure that tenants continue to have access to a wide range of quality beers from small, independent breweries – following concerns raised by a number of Punch tenants and trade bodies.
Lawson Mountstevens, Managing Director of Star Pubs & Bars said, “We are aware that some Punch tenants are concerned that we will force them to purchase only HEINEKEN brands. We want to confirm that is not the case.
“Our commitment to work with SIBA should give tenants confidence. As we have consistently said, we will start with what is right for each of the pubs joining us and we will work together with licensees to ensure they have the right drinks on offer to suit the specific needs of each pub.”
He added, “Punch’s publicans’ leases will continue as before, and they will benefit from the ability to stock drinks from a wide range of drinks suppliers.”
The deal will now pass to the Competition and Markets Authority for investigation.