Mitchells & Butlers is in talks with R20, the investment vehicle headed by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, over a joint venture involving the sale-and-lease-back of the pub operators' property.
The company confirmed today, in part, press speculation in yesterday's Sunday Times, which said it had been touting a variety of different sized property portfolios to buyers. Mitchells & Butlers is due to reveal its year-end results tomorrow.
Tchenguiz is believed to have offered to buy the largest portfolio, valued at more than £4b. The smallest portfolio on offer is worth approximately £500m.
If the deal were to go through Tchenguiz would buy M&B's pubs before leasing them back to the group, which would continue to run them.
The deal would mark a turning point in Tchenguiz's relationship with M&B, after a failed bid to acquire the pub giant last June left him with a 15% share interest.
Earlier this year R20 beat Tragus Bidco in a bidding war for high-street tapas chain La Tasca.
Once the £123m La Tasca deal is completed the 200 strong restaurant division will become part of the R20 owned Laurel Pub Company, owner of the Slug and Lettuce brand.
Mitchells & Butlers will reveal its year-end results tomorrow.
By Christopher Walton
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