But the Dutch giant is facing competition for the bid from a former Punch founder, Alan McIntosh of Emerald Investments, Sky News has claimed.
If the move goes Heineken’s way, the beer giant will add 1,900 of Punch’s sites to its operations, which already features 1,100 pubs under its Star Pubs & Bars banner.
The deal could turn into a bidding war.
The Morning Advertiser (MA)'s sister publication MCA Insight reported that McIntosh, who is said to be working with advisors at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is understood to have pitched an offer at more than 180p-a-share, valuing the company at c£400m excluding debt.
Heineken’s bid may have been marginally below that, sources told Sky.
Punch reported its first annual profit since 2013 last month (November) and said it had reached the conclusion of a disposal programme aimed at reducing its debt pile.
At time of publication, none of the parties were willing to comment.
Fall in numbers
Also in November, Punch CEO Duncan Garrood defended the negative impact on the pubco’s letting activity following the release of its figures for the first half of the financial year.
He put the fall in numbers down to the introduction of the pubs code in July, which mean a “change in the administration of the lettings system”.