John Dunsmore has admitted for the first time that Scottish & Newcastle is ready to open talks with Heineken and Carlsberg if the takeover price is right. He has told staff that he is not interested in protecting the Edinburgh-based brewer's independence at all costs. Heineken and Carlsberg have until January 21 to make a formal offer for S&N after the Takeover Panel imposed a "put-up or shut-up" deadline earlier this month. Analysts expect the consortium, which has already made a 750p a share proposal, to return with a bid of at least 770p. Meanwhile Mr Dunsmore insists he remains confident about S&N's legal battle for control of BBH, the company's highly-prized joint Russian venture with Carlsberg. S&N shares closed on Friday up 2.5pat 733p on hopes of a potential takeover. The Daily Telegraph 29/12/07 page 36 The Independent 29/12/07 page 52