Bass will welcome suitors

Company admits interest in selling brewing business

Feb 18, 2000 - Bass, owner of Great Britain's second-largest brewing group, Friday acknowledged reports that have been circulating for weeks the company wants to sell its brewing business to focus on its more profitable pubs and international hotels.


Earlier this month Bass's Chairman, Ian Prosser, was still saying that Bass was committed to UK brewing, but a company release now indicates otherwise. "Bass confirms that it is considering the strategic options for its brewing business. No decisions have been taken in relation to brewing as to the optimum way of maximizing value for shareholders," the statement said.

South African Breweries and Heineken, the world's second and third largest brewing companies, are reportedly most interested in Bass. SAB recently acquired the well known Pilsner Urquell brewery, while Heineken purchased Spain's Cruzcampo last summer.

Unlike the UK's other two big national brewers, Bass owns its top brands including the nation's best selling beer Carling, together with Worthington, Bass and Caffrey's ales.

Bass is hoping the bidding process could push the price of its brewing side to over two billion pounds if the world's biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch, and Belgium's Interbrew get involved.

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