Two Preston pubs are being used as bargaining chips in a £400m deal by brewers Heineken to take over 1,900 hostelries from Punch Taverns.
The Plungington Hotel in Lytham Road and the Grapes Inn at Goosnargh are on a list of 30 locals which Heineken say they are prepared to sell off to avoid an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
The CMA raised concerns when the deal was initially announced, saying it could lead to insufficient competition in areas of the country and possible price increases as a result. Butafter the Dutch brewing chain offered up 30 pubs for sale to offset those worries, it appears the CMA could give the deal the go ahead.
Staff at the Plungington Hotel say they are aware of the possible sale and are “awaiting a full statement” from the brewery. A member of staff at The Grapes said: “But we’ve only just been bought by Heineken.”
The deal, if it gets official approval, will make Heineken the third largest UK pub group after Greene King and Enterprise Inns.