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Cobra Beer saved by last-minute acquisition

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Molson Coors, the brand behind Carling lager, has paid £14.5m for a 50.1 per cent share in the loss-making firm.

Bilimoria has been trying to sell the London-based brewery since November last year. Cobra made a loss of £13m in 2007, despite steady year-on-year growth of 20 per cent and retail sales of £177m. This acquisition also writes off some £75m in debt owed to suppliers.

Bilimoria says: "We had no choice but to go down this route. I feel terrible about that. I feel gutted that the unsecured creditors aren’t going to be paid."

Four directors have stood down, including CEO Adrian McKeown.

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