Do you want to buy back your own company? Wetherspoon's boss says no and asks for shareholder help

Oliver Gill
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Tim Martin's shareholding is increasing as Wetherspoon's buys back its own shares (Source: Getty)

Wetherspoon shareholders will meet on Tuesday to head-off an unfortunate pickle that its boss and major shareholder has found himself in.

Tim Martin, who owns 29.9 per cent of the pub chain giant, is facing the prospect of having to make a takeover offer for the very business he founded 37 years ago, due to Takeover Panel rules.

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Any single shareholder that owns more than 30 per cent of a company must table a bid to the other shareholders under the stock market rules.

Although Martin is not understood to be planning additional share purchases of the FTSE 250 company, the current share buyback programme is increasing his proportional piece of the pie as the number of shares in issue reduces.

The meeting will consider a "whitewash" exemption. This would increase the shareholder threshold to 35 per cent.

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Sources close to the company told City A.M. that although the vote was not seen as "controversial", they were unsure whether or not there would be any issues passing the amendment.

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