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P.M. BRIEFING : Britain Won't Swallow Beer Merger

March 21, 1989|From Times wire services

LONDON — The British government today barred Australian brewing company Elders IXL from taking over Britain's Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, averting the predicted loss of 2,000 jobs.

Trade and Industry Secretary Lord Young said he accepted a conclusion by the watchdog Monopolies and Mergers Commission that a takeover would mean less choice for Britain's beer drinkers. The takeover would have merged Scottish and Newcastle with Courage, one of Britain's other "big six" brewers, which is owned by Elders.

The government also told Elders, best known for its Foster's lager, to cut its stake in Scottish and Newcastle from the current 23.6% to no more than 9.9% over the next 12 months.

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