The management buy-out of Wolverhampton & Dudley has lost its £500m backing from Royal Bank Private Equity, leaving the way open for rival bids from Noble House Leisure and Pubmaster, according to weekend press reports. The Noble bid is considered stronger.

Greene King is thought to have joined forces with Noble House Leisure and Enterprise Inns in their bid for W&D.

Greene King is willing to pay around £80m for 80 of Wolvesé bigger managed houses. Enterprise would pay between £400m and £500m for 1,300 pubs including all 1,000 of its tenanted pubs. The balance of 400 managed pubs, including the Pitcher & Piano chain, would go to Noble House, which would also retain Wolvesé brewing arm with its Pedigree and Banks's brands.

The Times 24/3/01 page 54

Sunday Business 25/03/01

page 2

The Sunday Telegraph 25/03/01

page 2 (Business)