Nomura, already a leading contender for the Whitbread pub estate, has entered the £470m bidding race for Wolverhampton & Dudley, according to the Sunday papers.

Nomura is said to have received the sale details last week and was considering a bid over the weekend.

Nomura is thought to be interested in about 1,000 W&D sites, which would include tenanted houses and the bottom end of the managed estate.

But it is unlikely to want Wolves' four breweries, which would probably be either sold on or closed.

It is not certain that a satisfactory offer will be received for the whole of Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, even after the company's board extended the deadline for formal offers by 15 days

last week to April 20, reports in Saturday's papers say.

Robert Breare of Noble Leisure, who has proposed a possible £472m bid for the company, which includes 1,700 pubs and four breweries, said he looked forward to working with the independent directors and advisers over the next few weeks and planned to step up his attempts to secure a deal.

Wolves' own executive directors, as well Pubmaster and Royal Bank of Scotland, are also thought to be interested. Royal Bank Private Equity is near to deciding whether to back a management buy-out attempt.

The Sunday Telegraph 11/03/01 page 1 (Business)

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The Times 10/03/01 page 54

The Daily Telegraph 10/03/01 page 31

The Independent 10/03/01 page 22

The Guardian 10/03/01 page 25