S&N shareholders call time on independence

Scottish & Newcastle is set to enter the brewing history books, after shareholders approved a takeover by Carlsberg and Heineken.

Shareholders voted by an “overwhelming majority” to disband S&N at an extraordinary general meeting in Edinburgh – the same city that spawned the brewer in its first form 259 years ago.

After months of wrangling and mud-throwing, S&N executives accepted a £7.8bn takeover bid from Carlsberg and Heineken in January.

“While there is sadness at the passing of two and a half centuries of brewing history, the prevalent emotion today is pride,” S&N chairman Sir Brian Stewart told shareholders on Monday.

He said S&N would “live on through its people”.

How many of those people will live on at S&N remained unclear, however. Heineken is to take S&N's UK business and it is anticipated that the brewer's Edinburgh headquarters will close. S&N also announced the closure of its Reading brewery in February.

As for brands, Heineken has hinted previously that it would look to keep the S&N beer and cider portfolio, including Strongbow, John Smiths, Fosters and Kronenbourg 1664.

A final handover is expected to take place on April 28th, if regulatory approval is granted.

Under the terms of the deal, Carlsberg will gain control of the coveted Baltic Beverages Holding venture in Eastern Europe, as well as the Kronenbourg business in France.

Heineken will take S&N’s UK business, alongside operations in Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, US and India.