BRUSSELS Heineken NV (HEIN.AS) is closing in on its acquisition of some 1,900 pubs in Britain after an investment vehicle linked to the Dutch brewer increased its stake in Punch Taverns (PUB.L).
Heineken and partner Patron Capital agreed to buy and break up Punch at 180 pence per share for a total of 403 million pounds ($502 million) and have already won over Punch's board and its top three shareholders representing 52.3 percent of its shares.
Heineken said in a statement on Monday that Vine Acquisitions Ltd, the bid vehicle of Heineken and Patron, had built up a stake of about 28.5 percent of Punch by Feb. 3.
Heineken is paying some 305 million pounds for its shares and assumed intercompany debt and will take on some 1,900 pubs. Real estate investor Patron will have more than 1,300 sites.
Heineken and Patron's joint bid appeared a near certainty last week after potential rival Emerald Investment Partners said it had decided not to make a takeover offer.
Punch shareholders will meet on Feb. 10 to vote on the deal, which is seen closing in the first half of the year.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Adrian Croft)