Spirit Pub Company has shown the door to Irish drinks maker C&C, which tried to gatecrash a proposed merger with Greene King.

C&C, behind Magners cider, confirmed this morning it had made a “preliminary approach” to the Spirit board – thought to be at around 115p a share, valuing the company at £760m but there was no certainty an offer would be made, or on what terms.

Spirit dismissed C&C’s approach, leaving Greene King favourite to succeed with its own smaller offer of around £750m, which Spirit said on Monday it was willing to accept.

It is understood Spirit board members were sceptical about how Spirit would fit with the C&C business.

A merged Greene King and Spirit Pub company would comprise 1,800 managed houses and 1,300 tenanted pubs.