Mitchells & Butlers sets Lewis a deadline for his next move

THE INDEPENDENT directors of Mitchells & Butlers have issued a put up or shut up notice to Piedmont, forcing Joe Lewis to make a public offer for the group by 17 October.

If Piedmont fails to come back with a firm offer by the deadline of 5pm on 17 October, following its possible offer of 230p per share on Monday, the group must confirm publicly it is no longer contemplating such a bid.

M&B’s independent directors have made the demands in accordance with rule 2.6 of the new edition of the Takeover Code, which comes into force from Monday.

But sources close to Piedmont, the investment vehicle owned by forex billionaire Joe Lewis, said Lewis expected the notice and he “continues to consider his options”.

Piedmont, which holds a 22.8 per cent holding in M&B, clarified late on Wednesday that speculation its possible offer of 230p per share represents its final bid for the Harvester and All Bar One owner is incorrect.

Elpida, the investment vehicle owned by John Magnier and JP McManus that owns a 20.1 per cent stake in M&B, has not yet made a public statement on Piedmont’s offer.

But on Wednesday, Lewis told associates he hopes to meet the Irish investors, who have been guests on his yacht Aviva, within 48 hours.