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Brewers Marston’s and Carlsberg UK to join to form £780m beer giant

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

British brewer Marston’s has announced plans to join with Carlsberg’s UK arm to form a joint venture worth around £780 million.

The move, which is the latest in a string of deals involving UK brewers, will create the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company.

It has valued Marston’s brewing business at £580 million, with Carlsberg’s UK brewing division valued at £200 million.

Marston’s said it will own a 40% stake in the joint venture and will now focus on its pub and accommodation business.

The companies said talks over the move started towards the end of 2019 and hope to seal the deal in the third quarter of 2020.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, told the PA news agency that the deal was “sign of confidence” in the long-term future of the UK brewing sector.

He said: “It’s clearly a very difficult time right now for brewery and pub operators.

“We know that things will remain uncertain over the next few months, but we are confident that this strengthens our position in the long term.”

He added that it is “too early” to say whether jobs will be impacted but said the financial boost from the deal will “bring much-needed stability” to cope with the continuing impact of the pandemic.

He also reassured drinkers that beer “recipes will not be changed” in response to the move, stressing the appeal of its core brands – which include Hobgoblin, Wainwright and Pedigree – to Carlsberg.

Tomasz Blawat, managing director of Carlsberg UK, told PA that the “strong heritage” of both firms made the venture logical.

He said: “I believe in having a strong balance of international brands and local brands. The deal complements this perfectly.

“I wish this was all happening in a different set of circumstances but things have substantially changed since we first had conversations last year.

“We were well into discussions when the coronavirus crisis kicked in and we were left facing the choice of whether to continue, but we have a very long-term view.”