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Heineken rejects SAB Miller bid approach

Dutch brewer Heineken, which acquired the Scottish & Newcastle business six years ago, confirmed last night that it had rejected a takeover bid from the South African giant SAB Miller.

In a statement issued before midnight the Heineken family said it had informed its suitor of its “intention to preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company.”

Describing the proposal as “non-actionable” Heineken confirmed a report by the Bloomberg agency early yesterday that it had received an approach but said it was confident it could continue to deliver growth and shareholder value. The Amsterdam-based company said it did not intend to make any further public comments on the matter.

Heineken operates 165 breweries in more than 70 countries and is Europe’s largest brewer and the world’s second largest by volume.

In April 2008 it acquired Edinburgh-based Scottish & Newcastle in a joint £7.8 billion bid with Carlsberg. Heineken UK now employs 2,000 staff at eight sites and is headquartered at the Gyle in Edinburgh. The acquisition of S&N included the historic Caledonian Brewery in the city which makes Deuchars IPA.

Its list of brands includes Kronenbourg, Fosters lager, John Smith’s, Bulmers and Strongbow cider, Amstel and Newcastle Brown Ale.

Since 2010, the company has invested £600m in its pub business including the purchase of 918 outlets from Royal Bank of Scotland. The Star Pubs & Bars business owns a nationwide estate of around 1,250 pubs.

SAB Miller’s move was thought to have been prompted as a defensive measure to protect itself from a takeover by world number one Anheuser-Busch InBev.

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