Spirit rejects rival takeover bid from Irish cider maker
Burton pubco Spirit has spurned the advances of Magners maker C&C. The Irish cider company put a shock offer on the table in an attempt to scupper Greene King's £723m takeover.
Details of the offer were undisclosed but it has been reported at 115p a share in a cash and stock deal – more than Greene King's 109.5p.
It is understood C&C has already made another bid for Spirit of about £760m, but this has yet to be confirmed by either party on the stock exchange.
The shock bid comes after Spirit received an improved offer last weekend from rival pub group Greene King worth more than £720m. The board of the Burton-headquartered company signalled it would be willing to recommend the bid to its shareholders. The revised proposal comprised 0.1322 Greene King shares per Spirit share and a cash payment of 8p, including any 2014 final dividend.
"Following recent press comment, the board of Spirit confirms that it has received a preliminary approach from C&C Group plc regarding a possible offer for Spirit," a statement this morning said.
"The board of Spirit has reviewed the proposal and rejected it."
In line with the City's Takeover Code, C&C have until 5pm on 20 November 2014 to either make a firm offer or pull out of the talks.
A statement from C&C said: "An acquisition of Spirit, one of the highest-quality pub estates in the UK, would transform C&C and enhance long-term shareholder value…"
Spirit, which also announced its preliminary results for the year ended 23 August 2014 this week, has an estate of almost 800 pubs, including the Chef & Brewer and Fayre & Square brands.
It pushed revenue up by more than £40m to past £800m sending earnings and profits higher than a year ago.