Marston's and Carlsberg brewing merger proposal delayed
The planned merger of the brewing arm of Marston's with Danish giant Carlsberg is to be delayed by several weeks.
The creation of the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company joint venture was announced in May.
It was planned to complete in September but pending a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been pushed back by about four weeks to the final quarter of 2020.
The Campaign for Real Ale has claimed the merger could reduce the choice of beers available to pub-goers and had called for the CMA to investigate the creation of the joint venture.
Wolverhampton-based Marston's says that the merger will not impact on consumer choice and is not commenting on the issue of an investigation.
The CMA is looking at the proposed merger rather than the European Commission.
Marston's does not expect any competition concerns to be raised and is satisfied the group has sufficient liquidity in place to meet requirements.
The new brewing company will have its head office in Wolverhampton and there are also plans to launch a new beer, brewed at the Victorian Park Brewery in Wolverhampton, for the start of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company.
The joint venture with Carlsberg UK values Marston’s brewing business, including Banks’s, Hobgoblin and Marston’s Pedigree, at £580 million and the Carlsberg UK brewing business at £200m.
Marston's will have a 40 per cent stake and Carlsberg 60 per cent.
Marston’s is receiving a cash equalisation payment of up to £273m as part of the deal which will materially reduce the group’s debts and provide additional financial flexibility. There is no suggestion of any job losses or closure of breweries.
The discussions over the merger were initiated in late 2019.
Marston's will continue to operate its pubs and restaurants separately from the brewing operation.