Heineken has offered to offload several pubs as part of efforts to satisfy competition concerns over its £403 million takeover of pub chain Punch Taverns.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday that the group has offered to sell pubs in each location that could see the deal impact competition and see drinkers face higher prices.
The competition watchdog had identified 33 areas of concern across Britain, but said that Heineken’s proposals, or a modified version of them, “might be acceptable to remedy the competition concerns it has identified”.
The CMA will now undertake a public consultation and decide by August 22 whether or not to refer the merger for an in-depth investigation.
The CMA has previously said the 1,895 Punch pubs being snapped up by Heineken, which it will add to 1,100 leased pubs it already owns across the UK, only account for 4 per cent of the market and are therefore “not a major route to market for brewers”.
Heineken sealed its deal last December to snap up Punch Taverns with private equity firm Patron Capital, having fought off a rival bid from the pub chain’s co-founder Alan McIntosh with a 180p-per-share offer.
Under the deal, Heineken would buy 1,895 pubs, while Patron would acquire 1,329.
A spokeswoman for Heineken said: “We welcome confirmation from the CMA that only a small number of pubs are required to be sold.
“It’s a sensible outcome and good news for pub-goers across the UK who will see the benefit of well-invested pubs in their communities.”