Scottish & Newcastle may have to sell its £2bn pub estate if it wants to bid for Beck's.

But before March 2001 Danone could force S&N to make a payment for Kronenbourg, which S&N bought last year.

This would mean S&N has to find £1.5bn on top of the £700m needed to buy Beck's. This would give the company gearing of 150%.

One option is to sell the pub estate. But that would knock earnings. The other option is for Danone not to press for second payment until the last moment.

Sunday Business 22 July 2001 page 18 (Benchmark)