Carlsberg UK and Marston's merge to create £780m joint venture

Carlsberg UK will merge with Marston’s to form a British brewing giant worth around £780 million.

The joint venture will be called Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company. Danish brewer Carlsberg will own a 60% stake in the business.

Marston’s will own the remaining 40%, and it will also receive a cash payment of £273 million as part of the deal.

Carlsberg has built up a strong UK distribution portfolio featuring San Miguel, Mahou, Brooklyn, Tuborg and Holsten Pills, along with its eponymous brew. It also owns on-trade wine and spirits supplier Crown Cellars.

Marston’s has established itself as Britain’s largest ale producer after purchasing Charles Wells, Thwaites, Wychwood, Ringwood, Jennings and Banks’s in recent years.

Its portfolio includes Hobgoblin, Brakspear, Wainwright, Marston’s Pedigree, EPA, Jennings Cumberland Ale, Banks’s Bitter, Bombardier, McEwan’s, Kirin, Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Founders. It also has an estate of pubs, but the joint venture is focused on brewing and distribution.

The deal values Marston’s brewing business at £580 million and Carlsberg UK’s brewing business at £200 million, which is why Carlsberg paid £273 million to gain a controlling stake.

Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “This new partnership acknowledges Marston’s strategy, position and consistent outperformance against the UK beer market, realising value for shareholders today, whilst retaining an interest in the future upside of the combined entity.

“Marston’s strong heritage, extensive distribution platform and established reputation for brewing and logistics excellence, together with Carlsberg UK’s values, long history in beer, brand portfolio and scale, combine the best attributes of both to create a compelling beer business with an outstanding portfolio of global and local beer brands, proven brewing expertise, strong distribution network and wholesale opportunity.”

Tomasz Blawat, managing director of Carlsberg UK, added: “We are excited to move into the next phase of our growth strategy. Our intent for the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is for it to become a platform for growth for all of our customers and suppliers, offering a bigger beer portfolio of complementary international, national and regional brands.

“We believe the new business will deliver even more value for employees, customers and consumers, thereby creating greater future growth potential.”