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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Brewer Wolves agrees Jennings bid
Jennings' beers
Jennings would be the third recent acquisition for W&DB
Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&DB) has agreed a takeover bid for brewer and pub owner Jennings Brothers.

W&DB, which brews Marston's Pedigree, is offering 430p per share, a deal which values 177-year-old Cumbria-based Jennings at 45.8m ($87m).

Jennings brews beers such as Cumberland Ale and Cocker-Hoop, and also operates 128 pubs across northern England.

"Jennings is an excellent regional business with a strong heritage," said W&DB's chief executive Ralph Findlay.

"We believe that our proposals will assist in the further development of the business and provide good opportunities for its lessees, beer brands and employees," he added.

Expansion

Jennings said the deal would "protect and develop" its heritage.

We believe that W&DB will provide a good home for Jennings
John Rudgard, Jennings chairman

"We believe that W&DB will provide a good home for Jennings," said Jennings' chairman John Rudgard.

The announcement came as Jennings reported pre-tax profits of 3.45m for the year to 26 February, up from 2.85m the year before.

W&DB's planned takeover is the latest in a series of expansionary moves from the brewer over the past year.

After a refinancing in March last year gave it funds to finance takeovers, W&DB has snapped up Wizard Inns and Burtonwood.

In addition to Marston's Pedigree, W&DB also brews Banks's, Hanson's and Mansfield beers. It also operates the Pitcher & Piano and Bostin' Locals pub chains.

Brewery pledge

Consumers' group the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) urged Jennings' shareholders to reject the takeover.

Camra said it feared the closure of Jennings' brewing operations at Cockermouth.

But the suggestion was denied by W&DB, which said the deal made "commercial sense".

W&DB said it was "committed to the Jennings brewery" and had plans to develop the business regionally.

"Were anyone to close it, you would jeopardise quite a strong local franchise," Mr Findlay told the Reuters news agency.

However, W&DB said there would be a small number of job cuts related to corporate operations out of Jennings' total workforce of 78.




SEE ALSO:
Brewer Wolves eyes Jennings deal
11 Apr 05 |  Business
Wolverhampton & Dudley buys rival
03 Dec 04 |  Business


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