Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 21:04 UK

Cobra Beer bought by Molson Coors

Cobra beers
Cobra Beer is sold in 6,000 restaurants in the UK

Cobra Beer has been bought by a joint venture between Molson Coors and Cobra founder Lord Karan Bilimora after entering a pre-packaged administration.

Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers said the company had run into financial difficulties in the economic downturn.

A pre-pack is when a sale is agreed before the administrator is appointed and is carried out without the business being offered on the open market.

Reports suggest Cobra Beer racked up losses of about £16m last year.

PwC said they had explored different options and this was the "best outcome" for Cobra Beer.

Pre-packs often involve the sale of the business to the existing owners or management.

It will now be jointly owned by Molson Coors UK and a new company controlled by Lord Bilimoria.

Molson Coors' beers include Carling, Coors Light, Grolsch, and Sol.

Expansion plans

Lord Bilimoria, an Indian-born British peer, put the company up for sale in November.

He planned to expand the brand in India and hoped a sale or partnership would help it take 10% of the Indian market by 2012.

Cobra, which markets itself as a "less gassy" lager, is popular in Indian restaurants. It is sold in 6,000 restaurants in the UK.

It has spent £40m on marketing since it was founded in 1989 as it has tried to break into the pub trade.

However, beer sales in pubs have been falling in the last couple of years and some analysts believe Cobra has been a victim of the decline in sales and the drop in demand for premium lagers.

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