February 1, 2017 / 1:59 PM / 3 years ago

Emerald abandons Punch bid, leaving Heineken unrivaled in pubs takeover

LONDON (Reuters) - Emerald Investment Partners said it has decided not to make a takeover offer for Punch Taverns PUB.L, leaving Heineken (HEIN.AS) unrivaled in its bid to buy and break up the UK pub company.

Shares of Punch, the country’s second-biggest operator with more than 3,000 pubs, fell 6.3 percent on Wednesday to 176.25 pence, on dashed expectations of a raised offer.

Dutch brewer Heineken and investment partner Patron Capital struck a deal in December to buy Punch for 180 pence per share, or 403 million pounds ($509.27 million), and break up its estate.

Emerald, the investment firm of Punch founder Alan McIntosh, said at the time that it had proposed a 185 pence-per-share offer for Punch, but the offer was conditional on financing and due diligence. Punch’s management, board of directors and top three shareholders all endorsed the Heineken bid.

Emerald said on Wednesday that it does not plan to make an offer for Punch.

Punch said its shareholders will meet on Feb. 10 to vote on the deal with Heineken and Patron, and that it expects the deal to close in the first half of this year.

Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Louise Heavens

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