Carlsberg: Probably the fastest growing brewer in the world

The largest business deal in Denmark's history gives Carlsberg a foothold on the growing Russian beer market

After three months of courtship, Carlsberg and Heineken's bid to take over Scottish and Newcastle finally appears to be in the house.

The two brewers announced Friday that they had entered the final stages of negotiations with the UK's largest brewer in a deal valued at EUR 10 billion.

Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, Carslberg's chief executive, did little to hide his enthusiasm for the transaction, which is the largest single business deal in Denmark's history and puts Carlsberg among Europe's leading brewers.

'In a single step we have created the world's fastest growing global brewer,' Rasmussen announced in London.

Although the details of the takeover still need to be worked out, S&N shareholders will receive 800 pence per share.

Carlsberg and Heineken meanwhile can divvy up S&N's sizeable activities.

For Carlsberg, the crowning gem of the deal lies in gaining full control of Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH) which has a controlling stake on the burgeoning Russian beer market. Carlsberg already has a market share of 37.4 percent, but Rasmussen expected the control of BBH could provide strong growth for years to come as Russians switch to beer from vodka.

The deal also gives Carlsberg a platform for further activities in China with a share in the Chongqing brewer.

'We're convinced that we can do things which we weren't able to do before,' said Rasmussen. 'We expect major benefits from this.'

The ebullience of Carlsberg's management in London could be felt back at company headquarters in Copenhagen where all employees were invited to an open bar, reviving a company tradition of giving employees unlimited access to the prized product - at least for a day.

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