Young’s, the brewer and pub operator has vowed to keep its independence despite being a prime candidate for takeover. Last year Young’s ceased to brew beer at its Wandsworth base and sold the site to property developer Minerva of £69m. The company then set up a joint venture with fellow real ale brewer Charles Wells & co and moved its brewing operation to its base in Bedford. Analysts say Young’s is ripe for a takeover, with an estate of 221 pubs in and around London, many on prime sites along the Thames. However, the company wants to maintain its autonomy and the young family still owns almost half the shares. Although some effort has been made to strengthen the pubs’ food offering, the company does not want to transform its pubs into “restaurants with bars”, according to chief executive Steve Goodyear. `The Sunday Times 29/4/07 page 19 (Business)