The venture, which will create the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, values Marston’s Brewing Business at up to £580m and Carlsberg UK Brewing Business at £200m.
Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company will boast assets that include Carlsberg UK’s Northampton brewery, London Fields Brewery and national distribution centre, as well as Marston’s six national and regional breweries – Marston’s, Banks’s, Wychwood, Jennings, Ringwood and Eagle – plus 11 distribution depots.
The transaction terms also mean the new brewing company will have access to Marston’s pub estate for its beer portfolio, which is enshrined through a long-term supply and distribution agreement.
Current Carlsberg UK managing director Tomasz Blawat will be appointed CEO of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company with current Marston’s CEO Ralph Findlay appointed as non-executive chairman, and current managing director of Marston’s Beer Company, Richard Westwood, appointed as chief operating officer, integration.
Blawat said: “We are excited to move into the next phase of our growth strategy. After a successful relaunch of Carlsberg Danish Pilsner in the UK last year, we are now building a new beer company by combining two organisations with shared values and strong history and heritage in brewing.
“Our intent for Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is for it to become a platform for growth for all our customers and suppliers, offering a bigger beer portfolio of complementary international, national and regional brands.”
Compelling beer business
Blawat added: “The new business will deliver even more value for employees, customers and consumers, thereby creating greater future growth potential.”
Marston’s boss Findlay said he was delighted to announce the joint venture with Carlsberg UK.
He said: “Marston’s strong heritage, extensive distribution platform and established reputation for brewing and logistics, together with Carlsberg UK’s global 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.”
Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) chief executive James Calder said the merger was the latest in a series of consolidating measures within the UK beer market.
He said: “It has the potential to take the Marston’s brand global and brings Carlsberg into the distribution and porterage business only after a few short years of leaving it.
“This merger, yet again, has the potential to impact negatively on small independent brewers by reducing the access to market they receive.”
The announcement was deemed a “red flag” to beer drinkers and pubgoers, according to Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chief executive Tom Stainer.
He said: “[It] gives us cause for concern about the future of British beers, brands and breweries.
“If this joint venture goes ahead, we would see further consolidation of the brewing industry into just a few large international players, to the detriment of our national brewing heritage, consumer choice, the diversity of beer in pubs across the country and the access to market for the small, independent brewing industry.
“CAMRA wants to see Carlsberg and Marston’s protect jobs and pubs, as well as to resist any brewery closures or moves that would see existing beers losing their identity or regional character, as part of a merger.”