Property investor Robert Tchenguiz has told the London Stock Exchange he is considering a bid for pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers.
Tchenguiz's investment vehicle R20 issued the statement after its share value surged on rumour of an offer.
R20 admitted it was discussing forming a consortium with a number of parties to bid for the operator, which owns All Bar One, Harvester and O'Neill's.
It added in a statement: "These discussions are at an early stage. As a result there can be no certainty that an offer will be made."
Mitchells & Butlers has more than 2,000 managed pubs and restaurants in the UK and was created after Six Continents split its hotel and pub interests into two companies in 2003.
Tchenguiz already has significant interests in the pub sector through the Laurel Pub Company and leased-pub operator the Globe Pub Company.
By Chris Druce
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