Carlsberg and S&N tipped to merge

19 June, 2007

A merger between Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle UK is “pretty much inevitable”, according to analysts from broker Merrill Lynch, who have upgraded S&N’s rating from “neutral” to “buy”.

“We are of the opinion that this is a transaction that will ultimately happen, and this seems to be the opinion of the two management teams themselves,” a Merrill Lynch spokesman told OLN.

ML said the merger could save the companies money by cutting out some central corporate costs and working on bigger regional scales, as well as simplifying the ownership of Russian and ex-Soviet company Baltic Beverage Holdings, which brews Baltika.

Both S&N and Carlsberg have told OLN they will not comment on market speculation.

ML has also upgraded SABMiller’s rating to “buy”.

“Our analysts believe that the beer industry consolidation will continue throughout the sector. In the near term investors should expect to see global brewers using their free cash flow and debt capacity to acquire minority interests rather than larger global brewer merger and acquisition combinations,” the spokesman said.

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