BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 22 July, 2002, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Brewer gets tough in merger leak row
Beck's
Interbrew owns German beer giant Beck's
Brewing giant Interbrew has threatened to have the Guardian newspaper's assets frozen unless it surrenders falsified merger documents leaked to the UK media late last year.


We are very disappointed and surprised at Interbrew's threat to single out the Guardian

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger
Interbrew said on Monday it would apply for a court order to freeze the Guardian's assets on 30 July after the newspaper refused to discuss handing over the documents to the Financial Services Authority, the UK stock market regulator.

The brewer said it was not pursuing three other news organisations - the Financial Times, the Times and Reuters - which also received leaked copies of the documents because they had entered into "constructive dialogue" with the FSA.

However, Interbrew is expected to push for their assets to be frozen as well if they do not hand over their copies of the papers by Wednesday morning.

Documents were leaked to:
Financial Times
The Times
The Guardian
The Independent
Reuters
The documents, which detailed fictitious plans for an Interbrew takeover of south African rival SAB, triggered a brief surge in the south African brewer's share price when they were published in November.

Interbrew said the papers outlined possible merger opportunities, but had been altered to make it appear as though a hostile bid for SAB was imminent.

Market manipulation

It has been suggested that the anonymous source of the leak may have been part of a plot to cash in on the spike in SAB's share price.

The leak is being investigated by the FSA, which has urged the news organisations to hand over the documents in the hope that they will provide some clues as to the identity of their source.

The media groups refused to comply with an earlier court order to surrender the merger papers.

They claim that potential corporate whistleblowers will be deterred from talking to the media in future if they are forced to hand over the Interbrew documents.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said in a statement that he was "disappointed and surprised" by Interbrew's threat to freeze its assets.

Interbrew said it would drop action against a fifth UK newspaper, the Independent, because it did not possess original copies of the merger papers.

Interbrew, the world's second biggest brewer by volume, includes Stella Artois, Beck's, and Bass among its best-known brands.

See also:

24 Dec 01 | Business
05 Sep 01 | Business
04 Jul 01 | Business
12 Jul 02 | Business
06 Dec 01 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes