The scenario they put forward was that Diageo, owner of Guinness and UDV, and which recently bought Seagram's wine business, would take Foster's Beringer Blass wine division while Scottish & Newcastle acquired the beer operations. S&N brews Foster's lager under licence in Europe.
However, commentators in the UK dismissed the idea of a bid by the two British groups, saying neither had the capacity for even a joint bid at what would have to be around £4.8bn.
Observers of the
Australian scene suggested the rise in Foster's share price was because the group was seen as an ideal defensive play for investors concerned about the impact of a recession.