(Bloomberg) -- Carlsberg A/S stepped up the challenge to rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Heineken NV in the U.K. by forming a joint venture with pub operator Marston’s Plc to pool ownership of their brewing assets.
The Danish brewer will own a 60% stake in Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Co., with Marston’s owning the rest and receiving a cash payment of as much as 273 million pounds ($330 million), the companies said Friday. The deal values Marston’s brewing assets, which include the Hobgoblin and Lancaster Bomber brands, at 580 million pounds, and Carlsberg’s U.K. brewing assets at 200 million pounds.
“The joint venture’s brand portfolio will allow us to offer a significantly stronger beer portfolio to our U.K. customers,” Carlsberg Chief Executive Officer Cees ‘t Hart said in a statement.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, U.K. pubs were struggling. The lockdown and the prospect of continued social distancing when they reopen have left watering holes with an uncertain future. Big brewers, meanwhile, have been under pressure from the rise of craft beer and weak consumption trends in developed markets.
The deal is the latest transaction in the U.K. hospitality sector seeing pub operators take a step back from their brewing operations to focus on running their bars. Last year, pub owner Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc sold all of its brewing assets to Japanese beermaker Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.
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