McEwan’s owner Marston’s and Carlsberg seal £780m beer joint venture

Marston’s operates 22 pubs north of the Border including Foundry39 (pictured) in Edinburgh. Picture: contributed.Marston’s operates 22 pubs north of the Border including Foundry39 (pictured) in Edinburgh. Picture: contributed.
Marston’s operates 22 pubs north of the Border including Foundry39 (pictured) in Edinburgh. Picture: contributed.
Brewing and pubs group Marston’s, which is behind the historic McEwan’s and Younger’s brands, 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 £580m, with Carlsberg’s UK brewing division valued at £200m. Marston’s, which operates 22 pubs north of the Border including Foundry39 in Edinburgh, the Three Witches in Inverness and Lockards Farm in Dumfries, said it will own a 40 per cent in the joint venture and will now focus on its pub and accommodation business.

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

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Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, said: “This new partnership acknowledges Marston’s strategy, position and consistent outperformance against the UK beer market, realising value for shareholders today, whilst retaining an interest in the future upside of the combined entity.

“Marston’s strong heritage, extensive distribution platform and established reputation for brewing and logistics excellence, together with Carlsberg UK’s values, long history in beer, brand portfolio and scale, combine the best attributes of both to create a compelling beer business with an outstanding portfolio of global and local beer brands, proven brewing expertise, strong distribution network and wholesale opportunity.”

Tomasz Blawat, managing director of Carlsberg UK, said: “We are excited to move into the next phase of our growth strategy. Our intent for the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is for it to become a platform for growth for all of our customers and suppliers, offering a bigger beer portfolio of complementary international, national and regional brands.

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“We believe the new business will deliver even more value for employees, customers and consumers, thereby creating greater future growth potential.”

It is the latest deal to be seen in a wave of consolidation across the sector. Last year Fuller’s, the brewer whose beers include London Pride, sold its entire drinks business to Japan’s biggest brewer Asahi. The company said the £250m deal would preserve the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London, where beer has been brewed since 1654. Fuller’s is now focusing on its hotels and pubs business.

Suffolk-based Greene King, which owns 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels in total across the UK, also agreed a sale deal with Hong Kong operator CKA.

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