The owner of Cockermouth's Jennings Brewery has announced it is set to merge with Carlsberg in a £780 million deal.

Marston's, which bought the independent Cumbrian brewer in 2005, announced the merger today, which will result in the creation of a joint venture with the new name CMBC.

Marston's will own 40 per cent of the new venture, and Carlsberg 60 per cent.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, said: “I am delighted to announce the joint venture with Carlsberg UK.

"This new partnership acknowledges Marston’s strategy, position and consistent outperformance against the UK beer market, realising value for shareholders today, whilst retaining an interest in the future upside of the combined entity.

“Marston’s strong heritage, extensive distribution platform and established reputation for brewing and logistics excellence, together with Carlsberg UK’s values, long history in beer, brand portfolio and scale, combine the best attributes of both to create a compelling beer business with an outstanding portfolio of global and local beer brands, proven brewing expertise, strong distribution network and wholesale opportunities."

The deal is due to be completed in the third quarter of this year, subject to shareholder approval and competition clearance.

The Jennings brand is 192 years old.

In November, the Midlands-based Marston’s reported a £3 million drop in profits despite a rise in revenues.

The company, which also has 26 pubs across Cumbria, reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £101 million for the year ending September 28 – down on the £104m reported for the same period in 2018.

Revenue, however, rose to £1.17 billion for the same period – up from £1.14bn in the previous year.

Late last year, the company announced it was scaling back on its new build pubs plans, revealing it had reduced its capital expenditure by £40m in the last year.

It confirmed it had abandoned plans for a riverside pub to be built in Workington, two years after it was granted planning permission.