M&B row with rebel reaches fever pitch..

BOSSES of All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers are steeling themselves for a showdown with rebel shareholder Piedmont at its annual meeting on Thursday.

The company is facing a bid by Piedmont, which owns 23 per cent of the business, to install four independent directors on the board.

Piedmont is understood to want M&B to replace banking advisers and reveal more financial details.

In turn, the board accused Piedmont, owned by billionaire investor Joe Lewis – of trying to take control.

The row started last year when M&B removed four directors from the board, including two from Piedmont, amid fears they were not acting in shareholder interests.

The board’s opponents also include Irish racing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus, who together own 17.6 per cent of M&B.

Piedmont denied seeking control of the group, saying it was unhappy with its leadership.

M&B offered to recommend investors to vote for two of Piedmont’s nominees, although it said Piedmont rejected the plans.

Piedmont last night issued a fresh proposal demanding a review of the business and the board’s support for the four independent directors it had proposed. M&B said: “We are seeking clarification.”