Greene King offers £270m for Hardys

Suffolk brewer and pubs giant Greene King announced yesterday a £270 million offer for Hardys and Hansons, the 174-year old brewer and pub operator based in the East Midlands.

By Kate McNally

By Kate McNally and Graeme Evans

Suffolk brewer and pubs giant Greene King announced yesterday a £270 million offer for Hardys and Hansons, the 174-year old brewer and pub operator based in the East Midlands.

Hardys, which owns 268 pubs and brews Olde Trip and Cool, has backed the terms of the offer.


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Greene King has more than 2,400 pubs after expansion in recent years has seen it acquire Scotland's largest regional brewer Belhaven and Essex-based family-run brewer TD Ridley.

Yesterday's proposed deal will enable the Bury St Edmunds-based brewer to build a presence in the East Midlands region, where it is currently under-represented, and is in line with Greene King's strategy to augment strong organic growth with carefully focused acquisitions.

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Hardy's pub estate spans Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, the North West and Leicestershire, and includes the oldest pub in Britain - Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem - which dates back to 1189AD.

Its beer brands include Olde Trip, Hardys and Hansons Bitter, Dark, Cool and Mild.

Greene King will continue to brew Hardys beers, alongside its own beer brands inlcuding Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen. However the future of the Hardys brewery at Kimberley in Nottinghamshire has not been disclosed.

Greene King's chief executive Anand Rooney said the company was delighted at the prospect of joining forces with such a well respected company with first class pubs and some tremendous beers.

“Geographically it is a hand-in-glove fit concentrated right next to, but not in, our heartland,” he added.

“Economically, it is an excellent deal for both parties, with certainty that we can both add value to each other's operations.

“Culturally and historically it is the ideal match of two companies with proud histories and solid values. We have both built our trade over many years on great service and community relations.”

Jonathan Webster, managing director of Hardys and Hansons, also pointed to the similarities between the two companies and the synergies of the deal.

“We share the same values and have an excellent cultural fit,” he said.

“There will be many opportunities for the combined business and its people as a result of the new partnership.

“Greene King has a reputation for nurturing the pubs, tenants and employees of companies it has acquired in the past and we have confidence it will have the same approach with our business.”

Family shareholders at Hardys hold about 50% of the voting rights.

Patrick Helps, chairman of the holding company which represents family shareholders, said of Greene King's offer: “It is a watershed in the company's 174-year history. However, we could not have wished for a better owner than Greene King to continue Hardys & Hansons' heritage, culture and successful business model.”

He added that he had confidence Greene King would “show sensitivity” in the integration of the two businesses.

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About Greene King

Founded in 1799 in Bury St Edmunds, Greene King has grown steadily to become a leading pub retailer and ale brewer across the UK.

Through organic growth and value-enhancing acquisitions, the company now boasts a high quality estate of 2,412 pubs, each with a strong individual local identity.

Greene King is currently structured into four businesses: Pub Company operating managed pubs; Pub Partners operating tenanted and leased pubs; Brewing Company running the brewing and distribution business in England, and Belhaven, which performs all of these functions in Scotland.

About Hardys and Hansons

The company was founded in 1832 and has grown into the East Midlands' leading independent regional brewer and pub operator.

Its 268-strong pub estate is located throughout the region and consists predominantly of large food-led pubs and local community pubs.

Hardys also brews and supplies its own ales to the free trade in addition to its own estate.

Last September, the company reported pre-tax profits of £18.4 million on turnover of £75.2 million. For the 26 weeks to end March 2006, it reported pre-tax profits of £6.9 million on turnover of £38.2 million. Gross assets at end of March were £149.8 million.

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