Joe Lewis eyes a takeover of pub chain Mitchells & Butlers

FOREX billionaire Joe Lewis confirmed he is considering taking control of pub landlord Mitchells & Butlers yesterday in a deal that could value the firm at more than £940m.

Lewis, Mitchells & Butlers’ biggest shareholder with a 22.8 per cent stake through his investment vehicle Piedmont, said he may offer to buy the remainder of the pub group for 230p per share in cash after his initial overtures two weeks ago were rejected by the board.

Sources familiar with the deal told City A.M. Bahamas-based Lewis is keen to stabilise M&B’s fortunes after chronic underperformance and 34 board changes in three years.

Speculation has been growing about Lewis’s plans for Mitchells & Butlers ever since City A.M. reported on 6 September that his yacht, Aviva, was moored near Tower Bridge.

“After six decades in business, Joe has proved more than anyone else you can do business from anywhere in the world. But the fact he is in London is very helpful,” a Piedmont spokesman said.

Mitchells & Butlers shares closed seven per cent up at 235.6p.