Botts & Co, the private equity firm, had financed Robert Breare’s offer of 500p a share and valued the brewer at £472m. Pubmaster, financed by West LB, which has a 25 per cent stake in Pubmaster, made a rival offer of between 500p and 520p a share.
However, W&D’s board said that it could not have put the offers to shareholders. They had been indicative and had a large number of conditions attached, it said.
W&D’s shares fell 34p to 445p from 479p on the news. The board will now set in motion a plan to return up to £200m to shareholders over the next two years.
Breare and Pubmaster had been competing for W&D since October, when it was put up for sale after a profits warning and poor stock market performance. W&D is being advised by NM Rothschild.