Another Cinven call for Napier

The former Bass boss is reported to be helping the private equity firm with a possible £1bn bid for Carling.

Cinven, the European private equity firm, is reported to be consulting Iain Napier, former CEO of Bass Brewers, over a possible takeover of Bass’ Carling brand, according to The Times.

The firm would not confirm Napier’s involvement, as it “did not comment on speculation”, but a source confirmed Cinven was looking to acquire the beer brand for around £1bn.

As Cinven has a “usual roll call of outside lawyers and investors” and “has used management consultants in the past,” added the source, Napier’s involvement in this latest deal cannot be confirmed or ruled out.

Napier, who left Bass Brewers earlier this year when the business was sold to Interbrew, has been called upon by Cinven before. He was brought in to investigate a potential bid for Britvic, the soft drink manufacturer, which Cinven made earlier this year. PepsiCo, which owns 10 per cent of Britvic, vetoed this bid, and the business was taken off the market.

In March 2000, when the likes of Heineken and Carlsberg expressed an interest in buying Bass Brewers, analysts valued the company at around £2bn. Carling has been a major contributor to this figure. In August, it became the first beer to sell over 1bn pints a year. Interbrew now has until February 2002 to sell Carling as part of a ruling from the EC in connection with its acquisition of Bass Brewers.