Dutch giant Heineken is making the running for the Bass brewing division. It confirmed that it was preparing a bid for the UK's number two beer business, but appeared to discount a bidding war, saying it accepted that other parties may pay a higher price than it would offer. It is suggested in the City that Bass received at least two offers for the division last year, one of which was from South African Breweries. Both were rebuffed because the price was not right. Paul Hickman of City analyst Peel Hunt said: "The way to grow in the beer business is by acquisition. None of the UK brewers can really do it and Heineken is interested in expanding by this method." Martin Hawkins at Greig Middleton added: "A Bass purchase for SAB would represent much needed diversification in a mature market." {{NEWS }}