Pub operator Spirit has moved to downplay reports it could be poised to sell off some 300 pubs as a prelude to a possible stock market flotation next year.
Although the company was today making no official comment on the story that emerged over the weekend, sources close to it described the news as "highly speculative" and "premature".
Spirit, according to the reports, has appointed Deutsche Bank to advise it on a sale, and is planning to sell a raft of small managed pubs that would be suitable to be converted into tenancies.
Spirit, which last year bought Scottish & Newcastle Retail, has more than 2,400 pubs in total.
Whether or not Spirit does eventually sell the pubs, it was being stressed today that there was no process underway to do so and no decision made.
by Nic Paton
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