The Carlsberg/Heineken consortium has not ruled out the possibility that it will launch a hostile bid for Scottish & Newcastle (S&N).
It said it hoped its latest offer for S&N would persuade its board start talking. But despite there being no sign of S&N being prepared to come to the table, a Carlsberg spokesman was not prepared to confirm or deny the possibility of 'going hostile' with a bid.
Carlsberg announced this morning that it was raising its indicative offer for S&N from 720p a share to 750p, valuing the UK brewer at £7.5bn.
"Our message is simple," said the spokesman today. "This is a full and fair offer which is in excess of the standalone value of S&N. It has a high level of certainty and is cash funded."
S&N's shares rose 22p on the news, to 763p.
While the new offer is clearly an exercise to reach out to those S&N shareholders who might be undecided about their intentions, the consortium said it still hoped to "deal with the board".
"We want them to engage with us and we hope this offer get them to a position where they can talk," the spokesman said.
"We think 750p is the midway point which offers value for shareholders on both sides. We are now awaiting their reaction," he added.
S&N's chief executive John Dunsmore is due to update the market on the group's trading and the new Carlsberg/Heineken offer is clearly designed to get the brewer's shareholders thinking in the run-up to whatever the UK brewer has to say.
S&N were unavailable for comment.