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Pub chain M&B rejects 'low' offer

UK pub chain Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) -- in which Irish horseracing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus own a combined 20pc stake -- has said an offer from billionaire shareholder Joe Lewis to buy the company "significantly undervalues" the group.

M&B, which has endured lengthy instability due to boardroom battles, confirmed yesterday that Mr Lewis's Piedmont vehicle, which controls just under 23pc of M&B, made an initial approach on August 27 to make an offer for the company at £2.24 per share.

That was at no premium to the previous day's price on the open market, and a 38pc discount on the highest trading level reached so far this year.

Piedmont, which has in the past been a vocal critic of M&B management, was prepared to offer M&B shareholders cash or the option of new shares in an unlisted entity controlled by Piedmont.

M&B, whose 1,500 pubs trade under names such as O'Neill's and All Bar One, said its independent directors informed Piedmont that the initial approach undervalued the company and wouldn't recommend the offer to shareholders.

Piedmont said on Monday that it was considering a further offer of £2.30 per share, but the pub group rejected it.

Irish Independent