Analysts expect Robert Breare and John Botts to announce the terms of an indicative cash bid this week for Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries

Bank of Scotland has emerged as a key backer for the bid put variously at £472m-£566m. Sunday Business claims the bank is prepared to put up more than £400m towards the costs. The Sunday Telegraph says the bidders are expected to appeal directly to shareholders to force the brewer to consider their offer. The Sunday Times says although Breare has done his homework, success is not guaranteed.

The Independent on Sunday says W&D should be prepared to discuss the approach.

It points out the brewer has got "a bit too ambitious," citing last year's purchase of Mansfield Brewery which it says was "folly" for both sides.

It says that the two might not be offering enough for the regional brewer and pub operator but they are prepared to bid more than £100m over the current value. "Quite a few" shareholders could be willing to discuss selling, the opinion piece suggests.

Sunday Business also believes the company has bitten off more than it can chew. It says the best the company can do is generate an auction and let someone else integrate Mansfield and Marstons. Nigel Popham, of Teather & Greenwood, points out W&D managing director David Thompson was not going to agree to a takeover unless a "ridiculous" offer was put on the table - an unlikely scenario.

Graham Eadie of Deutsche Bank said Wolves had been to quick to reject the offer The company's biggest shareholder Tom Schrager, who holds 6% of the shares, said he was disappointed by the company's response to Botts.

Breare believes Wolves can be better managed as a private company with revival dependent on hands-on management. Sources quoted in Sunday Business suggest the brewing side would be run separately rather than being closed or sold, although a feature in the same newspaper refers to "an asset-stripping exercise". Other operators could enter a bidding war such as Enterprise Inns, Punch, Unique, Heineken and South African Breweries, although The Sunday Telegraph believes a trade buyer is unlikely. It suggests investors should take the profits and sell. W&D is considering bringing forward its trading statement by several weeks.

Wolves finance director Ralph Findlay refused to comment on speculation that management might mount a rival bid to take the group private.

Financial Times 19/08/00 page 10

The Daily Telegraph 19/08/00 page 26, page 29 (The Week)

The Times 19/08/00 page 25, page 25 (Commentary)

The Independent 19/08/00 page 18

The Guardian 19/08/00 page 29, page 31 (Market Forces)

The Independent on Sunday 20/08/00 page 2 (Business - Business View)

The Sunday Times 20/08/00 page 12 (Business)

Financial Mail On Sunday 20/08/00 page 2

The Sunday Telegraph 20/08/00 page 2 (Business), page 7 (Business - Market Miscellany)

Sunday Business 20/08/00 page 1, page 3 (Benchmark), page 7