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Constellation and Punch Taverns tie-up given go-ahead

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) gives consent to a tie-up between the UK's largest pub company and the world's largest wine merchant, Constellation Brands.

The OFT said in a statement that on the current information available it would not be referring the deal to the Competition Commission.

In April 2007, Punch and Constellation Europe (the division of Constellation Brands formed in April 2004 through the merger of Constellation Wine Europe and Matthew Clark) plan to form a holding company with 50/50 ownership of Matthew Clark.

The joint venture values the wholesaler and distributor at 120m with Punch matching Constellation's retained investment of 35m.

The remaining balance of 50m exists as non-recourse debt (a secured loan linked to collateral).

Steve Thomson, current director of wholesale at Matthew Clark, will continue to run the business independently.

Matthew Clark is the sole wine distributor to JD Wetherspoon.