The Financial Times cites a letter from Thomas Food Partnership to the OFT that expresses concern in allowing any of the three leading supermarket groups to buy Safeway. The company backs a Morrisons bid because the industry needs four main groups “with a commitment to UK business” - which it said might not be the case with a Wal-Mart bid.
Brewers SABMiller and Scottish & Newcastle are understood to be eyeing a possible Austrian acquisition worth at least 1bn euros (£663 million).
Press reports suggest that Austrian beer group BBAG — Osterreichische Brau-Beteiligungs-Aktiengesellschaft — has approached a number of international rivals including SABMiller and Scottish & Newcastle, about a possible partnership or takeover.
BBAG said it had “commenced talks about a strategic partnership” with the aim of becoming Central Europe’s biggest brewer”.
S&N and BBAG already have a distribution deal in Austria involving BBAG’s Zipfer beer brand and S&N’s Foster’s.
Lord Haskins, who advises the Prime Minister on farming and rural affairs, was named as ‘Villain of the Year’ by Country Life magazine.
One judge said Haskins deserved the award for “propagating the false atmosphere on inevitability that pervades rural decline”.